HOW TO SERVE LEGAL PAPERS IN OKLAHOMA

This article will provide guidance on How To Serve legal papers in Oklahoma. Licenses are necessary for process servers. In Oklahoma, a five thousand surety bond is required when obtaining a license. Additionally, all applicants must pay a USD 35 fee and be authorized to serve the process in the county where the license was obtained. The price for a statewide license might also be USD 150 for applicants. Process servers are only allowed to perform their duties as officers of the court under the terms of their licensing. Testing and education are not necessary. 

REQUIREMENTS FOR A SUMMONS

Once the petition is filed, the clerk will immediately issue a summons. A supplementary or extra summons may be issued against any defendants at the request of the plaintiff.

In addition to containing the court’s name and the names of all parties, a summons must be signed by the clerk, sealed, and addressed to the defendant. It must also state whether the plaintiff has retained an attorney and the address of the plaintiff, along with a deadline for the defendant to appear and defend under Oklahoma Process Service rules, and inform the defendant that failure to appear will result in a judgment by default.

It is not permitted for a judgment by default to be different from or exceed the amount requested in either the demand of judgment or in circumstances where a default judgment is sought; the party against whom such a judgment is sought has received Oklahoma Process Service notice. However, save for a default judgment, every final judgment must give relief in favor of any party, even if such relief has not been requested in any Oklahoma Process Service pleadings filed by that party.

It is the plaintiff’s choice whether Oklahoma Process Service is served by the sheriff or deputy sheriff or by a person who is licensed to perform Oklahoma Process Service in civil matters. All Oklahoma Process Service other than subpoenas may be served by special appointments under this provision.

It is the responsibility of the court clerk or an attorney of record representing the plaintiff to convey a summons served by the sheriff to the sheriff. When a sheriff or deputy sheriff of another county is required to serve a summons, subpoena, or other Oklahoma Process Service, the court clerk must send it to the sheriff of that county, together with his voucher for the money received for service. The sheriff deposits the voucher in the Sheriff’s Service Fee Account. The process must be served by the sheriff or deputy sheriff in the same way as another Oklahoma Process Service issued by the sheriff’s county court. An attorney of record for the plaintiff must bring to the person designated to serve the summons a person licensed to serve Oklahoma Process Service in civil matters or a person expressly authorized.

A person under the age of fifteen (15) or an incompetent person may be served by delivering a copy of the summons and petition personally or by leaving copies of the Oklahoma Process Service at the person’s residence or usual place of abode with a person fifteen (15) years of age or older, or by delivering a copy of the summons and petition to an agent authorized by appointment or by law to receive Oklahoma Process Service. 

Second, a summons and petition may be served on an incompetent person or an infant who is less than fifteen (15) years of age by serving it personally and on the incompetent person’s guardian; and on an incompetent person by serving the summons and petition on the incompetent person’s guardian.

HOW TO SERVE LEGAL PAPERS ON A CORPORATION

Delivering a copy of the summons and petition to an officer, a managing or general agent, or any other agent authorized by appointment or by law to receive Oklahoma Process Service and, if the agent is one authorized by statute to receive Oklahoma Process Service and mailing a copy to a domestic or foreign corporation, partnership, or other unincorporated association that is subject to suit under a common name.

Oklahoma Process Service would be done by delivering a copy of the summons and petition to the officer or individual designated specifically.  However, if there is no statute, then upon the chief executive officer or a clerk, secretary, or an individual designated by statute; If there is no statute, then Oklahoma Process Service upon the executive officer or a clerk, secretary, or individual designated. Upon receipt of the summons and petition, the receiving warden or superintendent, or a designee, is required to deliver them to the prisoner listed on the petition quickly. Any prisoner not physically present in the facility at the time of Oklahoma Process Service will be denied Oklahoma Process Service by the warden or superintendent or a designee in their place.

REQUIREMENTS FOR OKLAHOMA PROCESS SERVICE

The summons and petition are to be served simultaneously. The plaintiff is responsible for providing the Oklahoma Process Service provider with the appropriate copies. There is no basis for dismissal for an insufficient serving of process if the summons does not include a copy of the petition. But the court has the authority to grant an extension of time to respond or otherwise plead if requested by the party who was served. In the personal delivery of a summons and petition, the person serving the summons must mention the date on the copyleft that service was made with the person served.

It is authorized for a person to serve Oklahoma Process Service outside if it is done in accordance with Oklahoma Process Service laws or if it is done by a court of this state. A court can direct Oklahoma Process Service of any document issued in connection with an international case on any individual who resides or may be located in this state. One may request the order or respond to a letter rogatory from an out-of-state tribunal, and it will dictate how the document is served to the appropriate party.

Without a court order, Oklahoma Process Service in a proceeding before a tribunal outside of this state may be made inside this state.

RETURN OF SERVICE

The person who serves the process must provide the court with evidence of service as soon as possible, and in any case, no later than the response deadline for the person served. However, evidence of service that was not provided does not invalidate the Oklahoma Process Service.

After a sheriff or deputy sheriff serves and returns the process, a copy of the return must be delivered to the plaintiff’s counsel within three (3) days of the return being filed in the office of the court clerk. An affidavit must be filed whenever Oklahoma Process Service is performed by someone other than a sheriff, deputy sheriff, or professional process server. It’s important to include the name of the recipient and the date, location, and mode of service on the return form.

Oklahoma Process Service by mail requires the person who sent the summons and petition to mark it with the date and location where it was sent and when it was received or rejected on a copy of it filed in court with the summons. Returned mail should be attached to a copy of the summons or an order issued by them, stating whether it was accepted, rejected, or returned. This section’s subsection states that if the mailing was rejected, the return should provide the date and location for any future mailing. 

SUBPOENA IN OKLAHOMA

Each subpoena must: [A.] please indicate that it is issued by a court and the name of the action; and [B.] command each person to attend and give testimony or to produce and permit inspection of designated books, documents, or tangible things in the person’s possession or control at a time and place specified. A subpoena will be issued by the court overseeing the case, and it may be served anywhere in the state where the action is now ongoing. The district court in the county where the deposition is to be taken will issue the subpoena if the case is pending outside Oklahoma. If the clerk has proof of service of a notice to take a deposition, he or she may issue subpoenas to those individuals mentioned or specified in the notice.

When a party asks for a subpoena, the clerk will provide them a signed and sealed subpoena for the production of documentary evidence, which they must fill out before it is served. Subpoenas may be issued and signed by an Oklahoma attorney who is permitted to practice law in the state.

Service of a subpoena upon a person named therein is then made by delivering or mailing a copy thereof to such person if the person’s attendance is demanded, by tendering to him the fees for one (1) day’s attendance and the mileage allowed by law. A subpoena’s service may be accomplished by any eighteen (18) years or older. A copy of any subpoena that commands the production of documents and things or inspection of premises before trial shall be served on each party in the manner prescribed. 

Failure to make proof of Oklahoma Process Service does not affect the service’s validity. Still, the service of a subpoena by mail shall not be effective if the mailing was not accepted by the person named in the subpoena. Costs of Oklahoma Process Service will be allowed whether service is made by the sheriff, his deputy, or any other person. When the subpoena is issued on behalf of a state department, board, commission, or legislative committee, fees and mileage shall be paid to the witness after the testimony out of funds appropriated to the state department, board, commission, or legislative committee.

A person ordered to produce and permit inspection and copying or any party may serve written objection to inspection or copying of any or all designated materials or the premises within fourteen (14) days after service of the subpoena or before the time specified for compliance if such time is less than fourteen (14) days after service. For example, a witness may object to all parties, and a party may object to the witness as well as all other parties. An objector may only view and copy documents or investigate the premises under the court order that issued the subpoena, however, if an objection is raised. The party serving the subpoena may, at any time, petition for an order to compel the production of the requested information. Any non-party or officer of a party may be protected against substantial costs arising from the examination and copying mandated by such an order to compel production.

LICENSURE OF PRIVATE PROCESS SERVER

In civil matters, a licensed private process server may serve and return Oklahoma Process Service. It is the responsibility of the presiding judge of the court or administrative district where the county is situated to give a license to make service of process in civil matters to those who are judges.

In order to have a license revoked, the district attorney of the county where the license was granted may submit a petition in the district court, citing any breach of the law by the licensee, in accordance with the terms of this section. The chief or presiding judge, sitting without a jury, must consider the petition and pass the order after giving the licensee at least ten (10) days’ notice by certified mail. Revocation of a license prevents the holder from reapplying for five years from the date of the revocation. 

The court clerk shall keep the list of licensed private process servers at all times in his office. Any person in need of a process server’s services may designate one from the names on the list, before presenting summons to the court clerk for issuance, without the necessity for individual judicial appointment.

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Sources

1. This clause is not jurisdictional, but the court may grant an extension of time to respond or otherwise plead on the request of the party served if failure to comply with it prejudiced that party.

2. This notification must be made within three (3) days after receipt of a returned card or envelope stating that the summons and petition have been received by the court clerk.

In the event that a party’s substantial rights are threatened by a process issued by the court, the court may change the process or evidence of service at any time in its discretion and on such conditions as it considers appropriate.

3. On receipt of an official summons, an individual must appear at any trial or hearing in the state, as well as any deposition or production of documents permitted by Section 3230, subsection B, to which he or she has been summoned.

4. Service of a subpoena by mail may be accomplished by mailing a copy thereof by certified mail with return receipt requested and delivery restricted to the person named in the subpoena. The person serving the subpoena shall promptly make proof of service thereof to the court and, in any event, before the witness is required to testify at the hearing or trial. If service is made by a person other than a sheriff or deputy sheriff, such person shall make an affidavit. If service is by mail, the person serving the subpoena shall show in his proof of service the date and place of mailing and attach a copy of the return receipt showing that the mailing was accepted.

5. A party or an attorney responsible for the issuance and service of a subpoena shall take reasonable steps to avoid imposing undue burden or expense on a person subject to that subpoena. The court on behalf of which the subpoena was issued shall enforce this duty and impose upon the party or attorney, or both, in breach of this duty an appropriate sanction, which may include, but is not limited to, lost earnings and a reasonable attorney’s fee.

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7. The court that issued the subpoena shall quash or modify the subpoena on timely motion if it: (1) fails to allow a reasonable time for compliance; or (2) requires a person to travel to a place beyond the limits allowed under paragraph 2 of subsection A of this section; or (3) requires disclosure of privileged or other protected matter and no exception or waiver applies; or (4) places an undue burden on a person;

8. The license applicant must: 1. Pay a licensing fee of $35.00, as well as the standard docketing, posting, mailing, and filing costs established by law. 2. Complete and apply for a license. The license must include the licensee’s name, address, and short biography, as well as, at the district court clerk’s discretion, a current picture. As long as the license is issued in the county where it was issued, the licensee is a court officer solely for service of process and only in that county. While performing

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