This article will provide guidance on Arkansas Rules of Civil Procedure. Disclaimer: Due to the law’s rapidly changing nature, 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 Arkansas State Legislature website.
Arkansas Process Service Requirements
Who can be a process server in Arkansas?
Any adult appointed under Administrative Order No. 20. has to be over the age of eighteen (18) years old, has a high school diploma or equivalent, that has not been convicted of a crime punishable by imprisonment for more than one (1) year or a crime involving dishonesty or false statement, regardless of the punishment, that holds a valid driver’s license from one of the United States, and demonstrates familiarity with the various documents to be served may serve the papers.
Arkansas Rules of Civil Procedure Rule 4. Summons.
(a) Issuance. Upon filing the complaint, the clerk shall issue a summons and cause it to be delivered for service to a sheriff or to a person appointed by the court or authorized by law to serve the process.
(b) Form. The summons shall be styled in the name of the court and shall be dated and signed by the clerk; be under the seal of the court; contain the names of the parties; be directed to the defendant; state the name and address of the plaintiff’s attorney, if any. Otherwise, the address of the plaintiff; and the time within which these Arkansas Rules of Civil Procedure require the defendant to appear, file a pleading, and defend and shall notify him that in case he fails to do so, judgment by default may be entered against him for the relief demanded in the complaint.
(c) By Whom Served. Service of summons shall be made by
(1) a sheriff of the county where the service is to be made, or his or her deputy;
(2) any person not less than eighteen years of age appointed to serve summons by either the court in which the action is filed or a court in the county in which service is to be made;
(3) any person authorized to serve process under the law of the place outside this state where service is made; or
(4) in the event of service by mail under subdivision (d)(8) of this Arkansas Rules of Civil Procedure by the plaintiff or an attorney of record for the plaintiff.
(d) Personal Service Inside the State. A copy of the summons and the 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) Upon an individual, other than an infant, by delivering a copy of the summons and complaint to him personally, or if he refuses to receive it, by offering a copy thereof to him, or by leaving a copy thereof at his dwelling house or usual place of abode with some person residing therein who is at least 14 years of age, or by delivering a copy thereof to an agent authorized by appointment or by law to receive service of summons.
(2) When the defendant is under the age of 14 years, service must be upon a parent or guardian having the care and control of the infant or upon any other person having the care and control of the infant and with whom the infant lives. When the infant is at least 14 years of age, service shall be upon him.
(3) Where a defendant is a person for whom a plenary, limited, or temporary guardian has been appointed, the service must be upon the individual and the guardian. Suppose the person for whom the guardian has been appointed is confined in a public or private institution for the treatment of the mentally ill. In that case, service shall be upon the superintendent or administrator of such institution and the guardian.
(4) Where the defendant is confined in a state or federal penitentiary or correctional facility, service must be upon the keeper or superintendent of the institution, who shall deliver a copy of the summons and complaint to the defendant. A copy of the summons and complaint shall also be delivered to the defendant’s spouse, if any, unless the court otherwise directs.
(5) Upon a domestic or foreign corporation or upon a partnership, limited liability company, or any unincorporated association subject to suit under a common name, by delivering a copy of the summons and complaint to an officer, partner other than a limited partner, managing or general agent, or any agent authorized by appointment or by law to receive service of summons.
(6) Upon the United States or any officer or agency thereof, by service upon any person and in such manner as is authorized by the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure or by other federal law.
(7) Upon a state or municipal corporation or other governmental organization or agency thereof, subject to suit, by delivering a copy of the summons and complaint to the chief executive officer thereof or other person designated by appointment or by statute to receive such service, or upon the Attorney General of the state if such service is accompanied by an affidavit of a party or his attorney that such officer or designated person is unknown or cannot be located.
(A) Service of a summons and complaint upon a defendant of any class referred to in paragraphs (1) through (5), and (7) of this subdivision of this Arkansas Rules of Civil Procedure may be made by the plaintiff or an attorney of record for the plaintiff by any form of mail addressed to the person to be served with a return receipt requested and delivery restricted to the addressee or the agent of the addressee. The addressee must be a natural person specified by name. Service under this paragraph shall not be the basis for the entry of a default or judgment by default unless the record contains a return receipt signed by the addressee or the agent of the addressee or a returned envelope, postal document, or affidavit by a postal employee reciting or showing refusal of the process by the addressee. If delivery of mailed process is refused, the plaintiff or attorney doing such service, promptly upon receipt of notice of such refusal, shall mail to the defendant by first-class mail a copy of the summons and complaint and a notice that despite such refusal, the case will proceed. That judgment by default may be rendered against him unless he appears to defend the suit. Any such default or judgment by default may be set aside under Arkansas Rules of Civil Procedure 55 (c) if the addressee demonstrates to the court that the return receipt was signed or delivery was refused by someone other than the addressee.
(B) Alternatively, service of a summons and complaint upon a defendant of any class referred to in paragraphs (1)-the plaintiff may make (5) and (7) of this subdivision of this Arkansas Rules of Civil Procedure by mailing a copy of the summons and the complaint by first-class mail, postage prepaid, to the person to be served, together with two copies of a notice and acknowledgment conforming substantially to a form adopted by the Supreme Court and a return envelope, postage prepaid, addressed to the sender. If the sender receives no acknowledgment of service within twenty days after the date of mailing, service of such summons and complaint shall be made under subdivision (c)(1)-(3) of this Arkansas Rules of Civil Procedure in the manner prescribed by subdivisions (d)(1)-(5) and (d)(7). Unless good cause is shown for not doing so, the court shall order the payment of the personal service costs by the person served if such person does not complete and return within twenty days after mailing the notice and acknowledgment of receipt summons. The notice and acknowledgment of receipt of summons and complaint shall be executed under oath or affirmation.
(e) Other Service. Whenever the law of this state authorizes service outside this state, the service, when reasonably calculated to give actual notice, may be made:
(1) By personal delivery in the same manner prescribed for service within this state;
(2) In any manner prescribed by the law of the place in which service is made in that place in an action in any of its courts of general jurisdiction;
(3) By mail as provided in subdivision (d)(8) of this Arkansas Rules of Civil Procedure;
(4) As directed by a foreign authority in response to a letter rogatory or under the provisions of any treaty or convention about the service of a document in a foreign country;
(5) As directed by the court.
(f) Service Upon Defendant Whose Identity or Whereabouts Is Unknown.
(1) Where it appears by the affidavit of a party or his attorney that, after diligent inquiry, the identity or whereabouts of a defendant remains unknown, service shall be by warning order issued by the clerk and published weekly for two consecutive weeks in a newspaper having general circulation in a county wherein the action is filed and by mailing a copy of the complaint and warning order to the such defendant at his last known address, if any, by any form of mail with delivery restricted to the addressee or the agent of the addressee. This subsection shall not apply to actions against unknown tortfeasors.
(2) In all actions in which the plaintiff has been granted leave to proceed as an indigent without prepayment of costs, where it appears by the affidavit of a party or his attorney that, after diligent inquiry, the whereabouts of a defendant remains unknown, service shall be by warning order issued by the clerk and conspicuously posted for a continuous period of 30 days at the courthouse or courthouses of the county wherein the action is filed and by mailing by the plaintiff or his attorney of a copy of the complaint and warning order to the defendant at his last known address, if any, by any form of mail with delivery restricted to the addressee or the agent of the addressee.
(g) Proof of Service. The person effecting service shall prove thereof to the clerk within the time the person served must respond to the summons. If a sheriff or deputy does service, proof may be made by executing a certificate of service or return contained in the same document as the summons. Suppose service is made by a person other than a sheriff or his or her deputy. In that case, the person shall make an affidavit thereof, and if service has been by mail, shall attach to the affidavit a return receipt, envelope, affidavit, or other writing required by Arkansas Rules of Civil Procedure 4(d)(8). If effected under the provisions of a treaty or convention as provided in Rule 4(e)(4), proof of service in a foreign country shall be made by the applicable treaty or convention.
(h) Amendment. At any time in its discretion and upon such terms as it deems, the court may allow any summons or proof of service thereof to be amended unless it appears that material prejudice would result in the party’s substantial rights against whom the summons is issued.
(i) Time Limit for Service. Suppose the summons’ service is not made upon a defendant within 120 days after the complaint’s filing. In that case, the action shall be dismissed as to that defendant without prejudice upon motion or the court’s initiative. If a motion to extend is made within 120 days of the suit’s filing, the time for service may be extended by the court upon a showing of good cause. If service is made by mail under these Arkansas Rules of Civil Procedure, service shall be deemed to have been made for this provision as the date the process was accepted or refused. This paragraph shall not apply to service in a foreign country under Rule 4(e) or complaints filed against unknown tortfeasors.
(j) Service by Warning Order. In any case, in which a party seeks a judgment that affects or may affect the rights of persons who are not and who need not be subject personally to the jurisdiction of the court, the clerk shall issue a warning order. The warning order shall state the caption of the pleadings, a description of the property, or other res to be affected by the judgment of the court, and it shall warn any interested person to appear within 30 days from the first date of publication of the warning order or be barred from answering or asserting his interest. The warning order shall be published weekly for at least two weeks in a newspaper of general circulation in the county in which the court is held. No default judgment shall be taken under this procedure unless the party seeking the judgment or his attorney has filed with the court an affidavit stating that thirty days have elapsed since the first publication of the warning order. In any case, in which an interested person is known to the party seeking judgment or his attorney, the affidavit shall also state that 30 days have elapsed since a letter enclosing a copy of the warning order. The pleadings were sent to the known interested person at his last known address by a form of mail restricting delivery to the addressee or the agent of the addressee.
(k) Service of Other Writs and Papers. Whenever any rule or statute requires service upon any person, firm, corporation, or other entity of notices, writs, or papers other than a summons and complaint, including without limitation writs of garnishment, such notices, writs, or papers may be served in the manner prescribed in this Rule for service of a summons and complaint. Provided. However, any writ, notice, or paper requiring direct seizure of property, such as a writ of assistance, execution, or order of delivery, shall be made as otherwise provided by law.
Arkansas Rules of Civil Procedure Rule 5. Service and Filing of Pleadings and Other Papers.
(a) Service: When Required. Except as otherwise provided in these rules, every pleading and every other paper, including all written communications with the court, filed after the complaint, except one which may be heard ex parte, shall be served upon each of the parties unless the court orders otherwise because of numerous parties. No service need be made upon parties in default for failure to appear, except that pleadings asserting new or additional claims for relief against them shall be served in the manner provided for service of summons in Rule 4. Any pleading asserting new or additional claims for relief against any party who has appeared shall be served by subdivision (b) of this rule. In action begun by seizure of property, in which no person need be or is named as a defendant, any service required to be made before the filing of an answer, claim, or appearance shall be made upon the person having custody or possession of the property at the time of its seizure.
(b) Service: How Made.
(1) Whenever under this rule or any statute service is required or permitted to be made upon a party represented by an attorney; the service shall be upon the attorney, except that service shall be upon the party if the court so orders or the action is one in which a final judgment has been entered, and the court has continuing jurisdiction.
(2) Except as provided in paragraph (3) of this subdivision, service upon the attorney or the party shall be made by delivering a copy to him or by sending it to him by regular mail at his last known address or, if no address is known, by leaving it with the clerk of the court. Delivery of a copy for purposes of this paragraph means handing it to the attorney or the party; by leaving it at his office with his clerk or another person in charge thereof; or, if the office is closed or the person has no office, leaving it at his dwelling house or usual place of abode with some person residing therein who is at least 14 years of age. Service by mail is presumptively complete upon mailing. When service is permitted upon an attorney, such service may be affected by electronic transmission, provided that the attorney being served has facilities within his office to receive and reproduce verbatim electronic transmissions, or such service may be made by a commercial service that maintains permanent records of actual delivery.
(3) If a final judgment or decree has been entered and the court has continuing jurisdiction, service upon a party by mail shall comply with the requirements of Arkansas Rules of Civil Procedure 4(d)(8)(A).
(1) All papers after the complaint required to be served upon a party or his attorney shall be filed with the clerk of the court either before service or within a reasonable time thereafter. The clerk shall note the date and time of filing thereon. However, depositions, interrogatories, requests for production or inspection, proposed findings of fact, proposed conclusions of law, trial briefs, proposed jury instructions, and responses thereto may but need not be filed with the clerk unless ordered by the court. When such discovery documents are relevant to a motion, they or the relevant portions shall be submitted with the motion and attached as an exhibit unless such documents have already been filed. The clerk shall not refuse to accept filing any paper presented for that purpose solely because it is not presented in the proper form.
(2) If the clerk’s office has a facsimile machine, the clerk shall accept facsimile transmissions of any paper filed under this rule and may charge a fee of $1.00 per page. Any signature appearing on a facsimile copy shall be presumed authentic until proven otherwise. The clerk shall stamp or otherwise mark a facsimile copy as filed on the date and time that it is received on the clerk’s facsimile machine during the regular hours of the clerk’s office or, if received outside those hours, at the time the office opens on the next business day.
(d) Filing With the Judge. The judge may permit papers or pleadings to be filed with him, in which event he shall note thereon the filing date and transmit them to the office of the clerk. If the judge permits filing by facsimile transmission, the provisions of subdivision (c)(2) of this rule shall apply.
(e) Proof of Service. Every pleading, paper, or other document required by this rule to be served upon a party or his attorney shall contain a statement by the party or attorney filing same that a copy thereof has been served by this rule, stating therein the date and method of service and, if, by mail, the name and address of each person served.
Rule 45. Subpoena.
(a) Form and Issuance. The clerk shall issue every subpoena under the court’s seal, shall state the name of the court and the title of the action, and shall command each person to whom it is directed to appear and give testimony at the time and place therein specified.
(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) quash or modify the subpoena if it is unreasonable or 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 for a trial or hearing, or deposition may be served at any place within this State in the manner prescribed in this subdivision. A subpoena for a trial or hearing or deposition may be served by the county’s sheriff in which it is to serve, by his deputy, or by any other person who is not a party and is not less than eighteen (18) years of age. Service shall be made by delivering a copy of the subpoena to the person named therein; provided, however, that a subpoena for a trial or hearing may be served by telephone by a sheriff or his deputy when the trial or hearing is to be held in the county of the witness’s residence. A subpoena for a trial or hearing, or deposition may also be served by an attorney of record for a party by any mail addressed to the person to be served with a return receipt requested and delivery restricted to the addressee or agent of the addressee.
(d) Subpoena for Trial or Hearing. At the request of any party, the clerk of the court before which the action is pending shall issue a subpoena for a trial or hearing or a subpoena for the production at a trial or hearing of documentary evidence, signed and sealed, but otherwise in blank, to the party requesting it, who shall fill it in before service. Regardless of his county of residence, a witness shall be obligated to attend for examination on trial or hearing in a civil action anywhere in this State when properly served with a subpoena at least two (2) days before the trial or hearing. The court may grant leave for a subpoena to be issued within two (2) days of the trial or hearing. The subpoena must be accompanied by a tender of a witness fee calculated at the rate of $30.00 per day for attendance and $0.25 per mile for travel from the witness’ residence to the place of the trial or hearing. In the event of telephone service of a subpoena by a sheriff or his deputy, the party who caused the witness to be subpoenaed shall tender the fee before or at the time of the witness’ appearance at the trial or hearing. If a continuance is granted and the witness is provided adequate notice, re-service of the subpoena shall not be necessary. Any person subpoenaed for examination at the trial or hearing shall remain in attendance until excused by the party, causing him to be subpoenaed or, after giving testimony, by the court.
(e) Subpoena for Taking Depositions: Place of Examination. Upon the filing of a notice of deposition upon oral examination under Rule 30(b), the court clerk in which the action is pending shall, upon the party’s request giving notice, issue a subpoena by the notice. 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 subdivision (b) of the rule. The witness must be properly served at least five (5) business days before the date of the deposition unless the court grants leave for a subpoena to be issued within that period. The subpoena must be accompanied by a tender of a witness fee calculated at the rate of $30.00 per day for attendance and $0.25 per mile for travel from the witness’ residence to the place of the deposition. The person to whom the subpoena is directed may, within ten (10) days after the service thereof or on or before the time specified in the subpoena for compliance, if such time is less than ten (10) days after service, serve upon the attorney causing the subpoena to be issued written objection to inspection or copying of any or all of the designated materials. If an objection is made, the party causing the subpoena to be issued shall not be entitled to inspect and copy the materials except under the court’s order before the deposition may be used. The party causing the subpoena to be issued may, if an objection has been made, move, upon notice to the deponent, for an order at any time before or during the deposition. A witness subpoenaed under this subdivision may be required to attend a deposition at any place within 100 miles of where he resides, is employed, or transacts his business in person, or at such other convenient place as is fixed by order of the court.
(f) Depositions for Use in Out-of-State Proceedings. Any party to a proceeding pending in a court of record outside this State may take the deposition of any person who may be found within this State. A party who has filed a notice of deposition upon oral examination in an out-of-state proceeding, which complies with Rule 30(b), may file a certified copy thereof with the circuit clerk of the county in which the deposition is to be taken; whereupon, the clerk shall issue a subpoena by the notice. All provisions of this rule shall apply to such subpoenas. Any objection shall be heard by a circuit or chancery judge of the county where the deposition is to be taken.
(g) Contempt. When a witness fails to attend in obedience to a subpoena or intentionally evades the service of a subpoena by concealment or otherwise, the court may issue a warrant for arresting and bringing the witness before the court at a time and place to be fixed in the warrant, to give testimony and answer for contempt.
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