This article will provide guidance on Alaska Rules of Civil Procedure. Disclaimer: Due to the rapidly changing nature of the law, there will be times when the material on this site will not be current. It is provided for general information and is not intended as legal advice. It should not be considered comprehensive or exhaustive and is not a substitute for advice from your attorney. We make no express or implied warranty as to the material's accuracy, reliability, completeness, timeliness, or appropriateness for a particular purpose, including applicability to your jurisdiction or circumstances. We assume no liability for any direct, indirect, or consequential damages resulting from your reliance on this material; you do so at your own risk. Seek the advice of an attorney. Comments, corrections, or suggestions should be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org. The information listed below may have been amended. For updated process serving legislation, please visit the Alaska Judiciary and Courts website.
Alaska Process Service Licensing Requirements
Process servers must be licensed by the Commissioner of Public Safety. A surety bond of $15,000 must be posted by each process server. The bond applies principally to theft that may arise out of levies and executions. In order to receive a process server’s license, all applicants must pass a written examination. [Alaska Administrative Code, Title 13, section 067.5 thru 067.100] More information is below under 067.30. Process Server Application and Supporting Documentsheading in the Other Applicable Information about Service of Process in Alaska section.
Alaska Rules of Civil Procedure to Note
The Federal Law on this subject is covered in Title 18 U.S.C. § 1501, which provides in relevant part: Assault on Process Server Whoever knowingly and willingly obstructs, resists or opposes any officer of the United States, or other people duly authorized, in serving, or attempting to serve or execute, any legal or judicial writ or process of any court of the United States…shall, except as otherwise provided by law, be fined not more than $300 or imprisoned not more than one year, or both.
Alaska Rules of Civil Procedure Rule 4. Process.
(a) Summons - Issuance. Upon the filing of the complaint, the clerk shall forthwith issue a summons and deliver it to the plaintiff or the plaintiff's attorney, who shall cause the summons and a copy of the complaint to be served in accordance with Alaska Rules of Civil Procedure. Upon request of the plaintiff, separate or additional summonses shall issue against any defendants.
(b) Summons - Form. The summons shall be signed by the clerk, be under the seal of the court, contain the name of the court and the names of the parties, be directed to the defendant, and state the name and address of the plaintiff's attorney, if any, otherwise the plaintiff's address, and the time within which Alaska Rules of Civil Procedure require the defendant to appear and defend, and shall notify the defendant that in case the defendant fails to do so judgment by default will be rendered against the defendant for the relief demanded in the complaint.
(c) Methods of Service - Appointments to Serve Process - Definition of Peace Officer
(1) Service of all process shall be made by a peace officer, by a person specially appointed by the Commissioner of Public Safety for that purpose or, where the Alaska Rules of Civil Procedure so provides, by registered or certified mail.
(2) A subpoena may be served as provided in Rule 45 without a special appointment.
(3) Special appointments for the service of all processes relating to remedies for the seizure of persons or property pursuant to Alaska Rules of Civil Procedure Rule 64 or for the service of process to enforce a judgment by writ of execution shall only be made by the Commissioner of Public Safety after a thorough investigation of each applicant. Such appointment may be made subject to such conditions as appear proper in the discretion of the Commissioner for the protection of the public. A person so appointed must secure the assistance of a peace officer for the completion of the process in each case in which the person may encounter physical resistance or obstruction to the service of process.
(4) Special appointments for the service of all processes other than the process as provided under paragraph (3) of this subdivision shall be made freely when substantial savings in travel fees and costs will result.
(5) The term "peace officer" as used in these Alaska Rules of Civil Procedure shall include any officer of the state police, members of the police force of any incorporated city, village, or borough, United States Marshals and their deputies, and other officers whose duty is to enforce and preserve the public peace, and within the authority conferred upon them, persons specially appointed pursuant to paragraph (3) of this subdivision.
(d) Summons - Personal Service. The summons and complaint shall be served together. The plaintiff shall furnish the person doing service with such copies as are necessary. Service shall be made as follows:
(1) Individuals. Upon an individual other than an infant or an incompetent person, by delivering a copy of the summons and the complaint to the individual personally, or by leaving copies thereof at the individual's dwelling house or usual place of abode with some person of suitable age and discretion then residing therein, or by delivering a copy of the summons and of the complaint to an agent authorized by appointment or by law to receive service of process.
(2) Infants. Upon an infant, by delivering a copy of the summons and complaint to such infant personally, and also to the infant's father, mother, or guardian, or if there be none within the state, then to any person having the care or control of such infant, or with whom the infant resides, or in whose service the infant is employed; or if any service cannot be made upon any of them, then as provided by order of the court.
(3) Incompetent Persons. Upon an incompetent person, by delivering a copy of the summons and complaint personally - [a] To the guardian of the person or a competent adult member of the person's family with whom the person resides, or if the person is living in an institution, then to the director or chief executive officer of the institution, or if service cannot be made upon any of them, then as provided by order of the court; and [b] Unless the court otherwise orders, also to the incompetent.
(4) Corporations. Upon a domestic or foreign corporation, by delivering a copy of the summons and of the complaint to an officer, a managing or general agent, or any other agent authorized by appointment or by law to receive service of process.
(5) Partnerships. Upon a partnership, by delivering a copy of the summons and of the complaint personally to a member of such partnership, a managing or general agent of the partnership, or to any other agent authorized by appointment or by law to receive service of process, or to a person having control of the business of the partnership; or if service cannot be made upon any of them, then as provided by order of the court.
(6) Unincorporated Associations. Upon an unincorporated association, by delivering a copy of the summons and the complaint personally to an officer, a managing or general agent, or to any other person authorized by appointment or by law to receive service of process; or if service cannot be made upon any of them, then as provided by order of the court.
(7) State of Alaska. Upon the state, by sending a copy of the summons and the complaint by registered or certified mail to the Attorney General of Alaska, Juneau, Alaska, and [a] to the chief of the attorney general's office in Anchorage, Alaska, when the matter is filed in the Third Judicial District; or [b] to the chief of the attorney general's office in Fairbanks, Alaska, when the matter is filed in the Fourth Judicial District.
(8) Officer or Agency of State. Upon an officer or agency of the state, by serving the State of Alaska as provided in the preceding paragraph of this Alaska Rules of Civil Procedure, and by delivering a copy of the summons and the complaint to such officer or agency. If the agency is a corporation, the copies shall be delivered as provided in paragraph (4) of this subdivision of this rule.
(9) Public Corporations. Upon a borough or incorporated city, town, school district, public utility district, or other public corporation in the state, by delivering a copy of the summons and the complaint to the chief executive officer or chief clerk or secretary thereof.
(10) Unknown Parties. Upon unknown persons who may be made parties in accordance with statute and Alaska Rules of Civil Procedure, by publication as provided in subdivision (e) of the Alaska Rules of Civil Procedure.
(11) Officer or Agency of State as Agent for Non-governmental Defendant. Whenever, pursuant to statute, an officer or an agency of the State of Alaska has been appointed as an agent to receive service for a non-governmental defendant, or whenever, pursuant to statute, an officer or agency of the State of Alaska has been deemed, considered or construed to be appointed as agent for a non-governmental defendant by virtue of some act, conduct or transaction of such defendant, service of process shall be made in the manner provided by statute.
(12) Personal Service Outside State. Upon a party outside the state in the same manner, as if service were made within the state, except that service shall be made by a sheriff, constable, bailiff, peace officer, or other officer having like an authority in the jurisdiction where service is made, or by a person specifically appointed by the court to do service, or by service as provided in subsection (h) of this Alaska Rules of Civil Procedure. In an action to enforce any lien upon or claim to, or to remove any encumbrance or lien or cloud upon the title to, real or personal property within the state, such service shall also be made upon the person or persons in possession or charge of such property, if any. Proof of service shall be in accordance with (f) of this Alaska Rules of Civil Procedure.
(e) Other Service. When it shall appear by affidavit of a person having knowledge of the facts filed with the clerk that after diligent inquiry, a party cannot be served with process under (d) of this Alaska Rules of Civil Procedure, service may be made by publication or as otherwise directed by the court as provided in this subdivision. Service by publication will be allowed in adoption cases only if ordered by the court for compelling reasons.
(1) Diligent Inquiry. Inquiry as to the absent party's whereabouts shall be made by the party who seeks to have service made, or by the party's attorney entrusted with the conduct of the action, or by the agent of the attorney. It shall be made of any person who the inquirer has reason to believe possesses knowledge or information as to the absent party's residence or address or the matter inquired of. The inquiry shall be undertaken in person or by letter, and the inquirer shall state that an action has been or is about to be commenced against the party inquired for, that the object of the inquiry is to give such party notice of the action in order that such party may appear and defend it. When the inquiry is made by letter, postage shall be enclosed sufficient for the return of an answer. The affidavit of inquiry shall be made by the inquirer. It shall fully specify the inquiry made and of what persons and in what manner so that by the facts stated therein, it may appear that diligent inquiry has been made for the purpose of effecting actual notice.
(2) Service by Publication. Notice shall be published four times during four consecutive calendar weeks, once in each week, in a newspaper published in the district in which the action is pending, or if none be published therein, then in a newspaper published in this state circulating in such district. Prior to the last publication, a copy of the notice and the complaint or the pleading shall be sent by registered or certified mail, with return receipt requested, with postage prepaid, to the absent party, addressed in care of such party's residence or the place where the such party usually receives mail, unless it shall appear by affidavit that such residence or place is unknown or cannot be ascertained after inquiry.
(3) Other Service. In its discretion, the court may allow service of process to be made upon an absent party in any other manner which is reasonably calculated to give the party actual notice of the proceedings and an opportunity to be heard if an order permitting such service is entered before service of process is made.
(4) Form and Contents of Notice - Time. The notice referred to in paragraph (2) of this subdivision shall be in the form of a summons. It shall state the nature of the action. Briefly, the relief demanded and why the party to whom it is addressed is made a party to the action. Where the action concerns real property or where real property of a party has been attached, the notice shall set forth a legal description of the property, shall state the municipality or district in which it is located, and the street or road on which the property is situated, if the property is improved, it shall state the street number of the same. Where personal property of a party has been attached, the notice shall generally describe the property. If a mortgage is to be foreclosed, the notice shall state the names of all parties thereto and the dates that the mortgage was executed. The notice shall specify the time within which the absent party has to appear or answer or plead, which shall not be less than 20 days after personal service or, if service is made by publication, not less than 30 days after the last date of publication, and shall state the effect of a failure to appear or answer or plead. If the absent party does not appear or answer or plead within the time specified within the notice, the court may proceed as if the such party had been served with process within the state.
(5) Proof of Service. If service is made by publication, proof of publication shall be made by the affidavit of the newspaper's publisher, printer, manager, foreman, or principal clerk or by the certificate of the attorney for the party at whose instance the service was made, to which affidavit or certificate shall be attached a printed copy of the published notice with the name and the dates of the newspaper marked therein. Proof of mailing shall be made by affidavit of a deposit in a post office of the copies of the notice and the complaint or other pleadings.
(f) Return. The person serving the process shall give proof of service thereof to the party requesting the issuance of the process or to the party's attorney promptly and in any event within the time during which the person served must respond to the process. Within 120 days after the filing of the complaint, the party shall file and serve an affidavit identifying the parties who have been served, the dating service was made, and the parties who remain unserved. If service is made by a person other than a peace officer, the person shall make an affidavit thereof, proof of service shall be in writing and shall set forth the manner, place, date of service, and all pleadings or other papers served with the process. Failure to make proof of service does not affect the validity of the service.
(g) Amendment. At any time in its discretion and upon such terms as it deems just, the court may allow any process or proof of service thereof to be amended unless it appears that material prejudice would result to the substantial rights of the parties against whom the process issued.
(h) Service of Process by Mail. In addition to other methods of service provided for by this rule, the process may also be served within this state or the United States or any of its possessions by registered or certified mail, with return receipt requested, upon an individual other than an infant or an incompetent person and upon a corporation, partnership, and unincorporated association. In such case, copies of the summons and complaint or other processes shall be mailed for restricted delivery only to the party to whom the summons or other process is directed or to the person authorized under federal regulation to receive the party's restricted delivery mail. All receipts shall be so addressed that they are returned to the party serving the summons or process or the party's attorney. The service of process by mail under this paragraph is complete when the return receipt is signed.
(i) Service on Custody Investigator and Guardian Ad Litem. In all cases involving the custody or visitation of a minor in which a custody investigator or a guardian ad litem has been appointed, the parties shall serve the investigator and the guardian ad litem with all pleadings involving the care, custody, or control of the minor.
(j) Summons - Time Limit for Service. The clerk shall review each pending case 120 days after filing the complaint to determine whether all defendants have been served. If any defendant has not been served, the clerk shall send notice to the plaintiff to show good cause in writing why service on that defendant is not complete. If good cause is not shown within 30 days after the distribution of the notice, the court shall dismiss without prejudice the action as to that defendant. The clerk may enter the dismissal if the plaintiff has not opposed dismissal. If the court finds good cause why service has not been made, the court shall establish a new deadline by which the plaintiff must file proof of service or proof that the plaintiff has made diligent efforts to serve.
Alaska Rules of Civil Procedure Rule 45. Subpoena.
(a) For Attendance of Witnesses-Form - Issuance. Every subpoena shall be issued by the clerk under the seal of the court, shall state the name of the court and title of the action, and shall command each person to whom it is directed to attend and give testimony or to produce documents at a time and place therein specified. The clerk shall issue a subpoena for the attendance of a witness, signed and sealed but otherwise in blank, to a party requesting it, who shall fill it in before service. The clerk shall issue a subpoena for the production of documentary evidence signed and sealed and indicating the date, time, and place of the deposition or court proceeding at which the documentary evidence is to be produced.
(b) For Production of Documentary Evidence. A subpoena may also command the person directed to produce the books, papers, documents, or tangible things designated therein. Still, the court, upon motion made promptly and in any event at or before the time specified in the subpoena for compliance therewith, may (1) void or modify the subpoena if it is unreasonable and oppressive or (2) condition denial of the motion upon the advancement by the person in whose behalf the subpoena is issued of the reasonable cost of producing the books, papers, documents or tangible things.
(c) Service. A subpoena may be served by a peace officer or any other person who is not a party and is not less than 18 years of age. Service of a subpoena upon a person named therein shall be made by delivering a copy thereof to such person and by tendering to the person the fees for one day's attendance and the mileage prescribed by rule. When the subpoena is issued on behalf of the state, a municipality, a borough, a city, or an officer or agency thereof, fees and mileage need not be tendered. A subpoena may also be served by registered or certified mail. In such case, the clerk shall mail the subpoena for delivery only to the person subpoenaed and, unless not required under this rule, shall enclose a warrant or postal money order in the amount of the fees for one day's attendance and of the mileage prescribed by rule. The returned delivery receipt shall be so addressed that it is returned to the party requesting the subpoena or that party's attorney. Proof of service shall be made by affidavit.
(d) Subpoena for Taking Depositions-Place of Examination.
(1) Proof of service of a notice to take a deposition as provided in Rules 30(b) and 31(a) constitutes a sufficient authorization for the issuance by the clerk of the court for any judicial district of subpoenas for the persons named or described therein. The subpoena may command the person to whom it is directed to produce and permit inspection and copying of designated books, papers, documents, or tangible things which constitute or contain matters within the scope of the examination permitted by Rule 26(b). Still, in that event, the subpoena will be subject to Rule 26(c) and subparagraph (b) of this rule. The person to whom the subpoena is directed may, within ten days after the service thereof or on or before the time specified in the subpoena for compliance, if such time is less than ten days after service, serve upon the attorney designated in the subpoena written objection to inspection or copying of any or all of the designated materials. If an objection is made, the party serving the subpoena shall not be entitled to inspect and copy the material except pursuant to an order of the court from which the subpoena was issued. The party serving the subpoena may, if an objection has been made, move upon notice to the deponent for an order at any time before or during the taking of the deposition.
(2) A resident of the judicial district in which the deposition is to be taken may be required to attend an examination at any place within the district unless otherwise ordered by the court. A non-resident of the judicial district in which the deposition is to be taken, and a nonresident of the state subpoenaed within the state, may be required to attend at any place within the district wherein the nonresident is served with a subpoena unless otherwise ordered by the court.
(e) Subpoena for a Hearing or Trial. At the request of any party, subpoenas for attendance at a hearing or trial shall be issued by the clerk of the court for the judicial district in which the hearing or trial is held. A subpoena requiring the attendance of a witness at a hearing or trial may be served at any place within the state.
(f) Contempt. Failure by any person without adequate excuse to obey a subpoena served upon that person may be deemed a contempt of the court from which the subpoena was issued.
(g) Enforcement of Administrative Subpoenas. When any officer or agency of the state has the authority to issue subpoenas, enforcement of such subpoenas to compel the giving of testimony or the production of documents may be secured by proceedings brought in the court in the manner provided by the Administrative Procedures Act of the state.
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