Just before the new year a handful of changes were made to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, many of which directly affect process servers. Amendments were made to Rule 4, 16, and 26, changing the maximum days for service to be completed and removing some restrictions on serving discovery requests. Take a look at the information below to make sure you’re up to date on the latest changes.
Amendments to Rule 4. Summons
Rule 4, which outlines summons requirements, changed the amount of time a process server has to serve a defendant. As of December 1st, 2015, process servers now have 90 days to serve a defendant, 30 less than the previous 120 that was allowed.
*You can read the full rule here: https://www.law.cornell.edu/rules/frcp/rule_4
Amendments to Rule 16. Pretrial Conferences; Scheduling; Management
Rule 16 was changed in an effort to increase efficiency. Judges now have 90 days to schedule orders for defendants who had been served summons and complaints, down from 120. For defendants who have appeared in court the timeframe is down to 60 days.
*You can read the full rule here: https://www.law.cornell.edu/rules/frcp/rule_16
Amendments to Rule 26. Duty to Disclose; General Provisions Governing Discovery
Rule 26 used to dictate that parties could not serve discovery requests until after the Rule 26(f) conference. This rule has been amended, doing away with the restriction. Once the summons and complaint has been served, another party can be served with requests after 22 days, even if neither party has held the conference. Additionally, defendants can request documents on the plaintiff before answering the summons.
*You can read the full rule here: https://www.law.cornell.edu/rules/frcp/rule_26
Additions to Rule 11b. Representation to the Court
The change to Rule 11b added language to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure that recognize electronic inboxes (specifically email) as means of acceptable communication.
*You can read the full rule here: https://www.law.cornell.edu/rules/frcp/rule_11
While some of these changes don’t directly affect process servers, they do offer helpful insight as to what direction the federal courts are moving. It’s also important for everyone working within the legal industry who might be affected by these rules to stay abreast of the latest developments. If you have questions about the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, or about serving papers in the Mid-Atlantic region of the U.S., give us a call at 1-800-990-7378 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. We always offer exceptional service!
*Note: some of these pages may not yet have been updated