Service of Process

How is the summons issued?

When a complaint is filed, chambers staff of the judge assigned to the case prepare the summons form and docket it in the case.  If the plaintiff is represented by an attorney, the attorney receives the summons via e-mail through CM/ECF, the court's electronic filing program.   If the plaintiff does not have an attorney, the plaintiff receives the summons via the U. S. Postal Service.  [The summons is mailed by the Bankruptcy Noticing Center to the self-represented plaintiff.]

What exactly is a summons?

A summons is a writ used to notify the person named as the defendant of the commencement of the adversary action and the requirement to appear and answer. The summons contains the name of the Court and the names of the parties, is directed to the defendant, states the name and address of the plaintiff's attorney, if any, otherwise the plaintiff's address and the time within which the rules require the defendant to file an answer to the complaint.

How is the summons different in this Court?

In this District, the summons on an adversary complaint is also a notice of the time for either an initial pretrial conference or a scheduling conference.  Scheduling conferences are set in adversary proceedings assigned to Judge Jacobvitz and Judge Thuma.

What does Service of Process involve?

Making service of process involves serving a copy of a summons and a copy of the complaint to each of the defendants. This can be done via first class mail.  See Federal Bankruptcy Rule 7004(b).  You can make service of process by having a "disinterested" person who is over the age of eighteen deliver copies of the summons and complaint to each of the defendants.  See Federal Bankruptcy Rule 7004(a). The summons and complaint must be mailed or delivered within 14 days of the issuance of the summons.  See Federal Bankruptcy Rule 7004(e).  You must file the Court's local form of Certificate of Service with the Court describing the service of process.

Finally, service of the summons and complaint on the defendant must be made within 120 days from the date the complaint was filed or the case will be subject to dismissal. See Rule 4(m) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.

For more information, read Rule 7004 of the Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure and Rule 4 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.