This article will provide guidance on How To Serve legal papers in Tennessee. An unaffiliated person at least eighteen years of age may serve a summons and complaint on a person who is not a party. The process server’s name and address must be included on the return. There will be no Tennessee Process Service on Sundays unless a court order is given. Click Here for Frequently Asked Questions About Process Servers!

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HOW to issue a summons in Tennessee

The clerk of the court where the complaint is filed must immediately issue the relevant summons and cause it to be delivered for service to any person authorized to serve Tennessee Process Service, together with necessary copies of the complaint and summons. The return endorsed on the summons will serve as proof to verify that the summons was properly served. No matter where the defendant lives, the plaintiff may seek supplementary or more summonses against any defendant. Existing Tennessee Process Service laws governing the location will not be affected by this. Click Here for information on What Do Process Servers in Tennessee Do!

Anyone above eighteen who is not a party to the action may serve a summons and complaint. The response must include the process server’s name and address.

Several requirements must be met before a summons may be issued, including  [A.] being signed and dated by the clerk, [B.]  the court and county’s name, as well as [C.] the title of the action and the case number. Tennessee Process Service regulations mandate that the defendant be summoned to appear and defend within the period specified in the summons. If they fail to do so, judgment by default will be issued against that individual for the relief sought in the complaint. If the plaintiff has an attorney, the summons must provide the name and address of that attorney; otherwise, it must include the name and address of the plaintiff. Click here for information on Tennessee Rules of Civil Procedure.

Summons must be sent directly to defendants who must present and defend within the specified time frame, and they must be informed that if they fail to do so, a default judgment will be issued against them for the relief sought in their complaint. If the plaintiff has an attorney, the summons must provide the name and address of that attorney; otherwise, Tennessee Process Service must include the name and address of the plaintiff. Click here for information on How Rush Process Service Can Expedite Your Case.

The person delivering the summons must quickly provide the court with documentation of Tennessee Process Service, including identification of the person served and a description of the method used to deliver the summons to that person. It is mandatory to return summonses that have not been served within thirty (30) days of the date of issue with a note explaining why the Tennessee Process Service was not completed. Click here for information on How Service of Process Ensures A Solid Foundation.

A copy of the summons and an affidavit stating that the person making Tennessee Process Service is in accordance with this rule and a return receipt must be provided to the clerk for filing when Tennessee Process Service is made by mail. Tennessee Process Service must be accompanied by a sign indicating when the summons was sent by certified mail and when a return receipt was received by a person authorized to do so. Upon receiving the defendant’s return, Tennessee Process Service on the defendant shall be deemed completed. Any technique permitted by these rules or legislation may be utilized if the postal service fails. Click here for information on How Process Servers Protect Your Rights: Myths Debunked

The plaintiff must provide all copies of the summons and complaint to the person performing service. Tennessee Process Service can be enacted by serving the complaint and summons on an unincorporated association (including an LLC) named as a defendant under its common name, an officer or managing agent of an LLC, or an agent authorized by appointment or by law to receive service on behalf of the LLC.

For domestic corporations or foreign corporations doing business in this state, the summons and complaint must be delivered to the corporation’s officer, manager, chief agent, or any other agent designated by law to receive service on behalf of the corporation or any other agent designated by the corporation. To serve a summons and a complaint on a non-resident who conducts business through an office or agency in Tennessee, or a resident who conducts business through an office or agency in another county than the county in which the resident resides, the summons and complaint must be delivered to the person in charge of the office or agency.

Delivering the summons and complaint to the state’s attorney general or an assistant attorney general is required to serve the state of Tennessee or any agency that usually handles the same. In the case of a county, the summons and complaint should be delivered to the county executive officer or, in the absence of the executive officer, to the county attorney if one has been assigned; if not, the copies should be sent to the county court clerk.

Adequate Tennessee Process Service can be done by handing over the summons and complaint to the city’s top official, such as the mayor or the city attorney. This would mean providing a copy of the summons and complaint to any officer or managing agent of any other governmental or quasi-governmental institution.

A summons and complaint may be served by mail by the plaintiff, the plaintiff’s attorney, or any other person allowed by law. After the complaint is filed, the clerk must provide the plaintiff, the plaintiff’s attorney, or another authorized person with an original summons, a certified copy of that summons, and a copy of the filed complaint about service by mail. Registered return receipt or certified return receipt mail, an individual should provide a copy of their complaint with a certified copy of the summons. The summons must be utilized to return to Tennessee Process Service. Judgment by default may not be entered unless a return receipt demonstrating personal acceptance by the defendant or other individuals legislation is included in the record. If service by mail fails, other means permitted by these rules or legislation may be employed without success.

There is no waiver of venue or personal jurisdiction by a defendant who refuses to have a summons served on them. According to this paragraph, a summons must be served cost-effectively if the summons is issued to a person, company, or other legal entity that has received notice of the action. By notifying the defendant and asking that they not be served with a summons, a plaintiff may save money by avoiding the expense of a summons. When serving a summons and complaint, the summons and complaint must [A.] be in writing and addressed directly to the defendant, if the defendant is an individual, or to an officer or managing or general agent (or other agent authorized by the appointment of law) of a defendant subject to service; [B.]  be sent by first-class mail, or other reliable means; [C.] include the complaint and  [D.] include a copy of the complaint and the court in which it has been filed. 

After the date on which the waiver request was submitted, a defendant who promptly returns a waiver thus requested is not obliged to serve an answer until sixty days after that date. The action must continue as if a summons and complaint had been served when the plaintiff filed the waiver of service with the court, and no evidence of Tennessee Process Service will be needed. In circumstances where constructive Tennessee Process Service is permitted, Tennessee Process Service must be done in accordance with that legislation. To the extent that it does not seem that the party against whom the Tennessee Process Service was issued would suffer serious damage as a consequence of the amendment, the court may allow any Tennessee Process Service or evidence of service to be altered at any time, and under any conditions it sees fit.

After the date on which the waiver request was submitted, a defendant who promptly returns a waiver thus requested is not obliged to serve an answer until sixty days after that date. Additional service charges, including reasonable attorney’s fees, will be levied on the defendant since they did not comply with the request to forego serving the summons.

how to serve a subpoena in Tennessee

An individual may be ordered to provide the books, papers, and documents specified in the subpoena. However, the court may [A.] quash or modify the subpoena if it is unreasonable and oppressive or [B.] condition denial of the motion on the advancement by the person on whose behalf the subpoena is issued of the reasonable cost of producing the books, papers, documents, or tangible things, on motion made promptly and in any event at or before the time specified in the subpoena for compliance therewith.

To serve a subpoena, the process may be served by any person authorized to do so, or the witness may confirm receipt of the subpoena in writing. Delivering or proposing to provide a copy of the subpoena to the person it is addressed is the method of Tennessee Process Service.

First, the court clerk might issue a subpoena for depositions in a pending case. For state residents, depositions may only be taken in the county where they live, work, or do business, or at such other location as the court deems appropriate.

The clerk of the court in which the case is proceeding shall issue subpoenas for attendance at a hearing or trial at the request of any party, and such a subpoena may be served anywhere in the state. According to this rule, where a witness’s evidence is critical to the case’s outcome and its fair and appropriate impact cannot be reached without an in-person examination by a judge or jury, the judge or jury has the power to mandate that witness’s personal presence in court. However, such a witness may be excluded from appearing in person if other factors are at play.

Consequences for refusing to comply with an order of the court might include fines and/or imprisonment for contempt of the court:

A party may serve a foreign subpoena on a clerk of court in the county where discovery will take place in this state. It is unnecessary to be in court when requesting and receiving a subpoena. The clerk of court in Tennessee must swiftly issue subpoenas when a party submits a subpoena from a foreign jurisdiction to the clerk, pursuant to the Uniform Interstate Deposition and Discovery Act (UIDDA)-Tennessee. A copy of the foreign subpoena must be attached to or included with the summons. The summons must also include or include the contact information for all lawyers in the case to which the summons pertains, as well as those parties to who counsel does not represent. 


Documents can be faxed at (800) 296-0115, emailed, mailed, or dropped off at any of our locations. We do require pre-payment and accept all major credit and debit cards. Once payment is processed, your sales receipt is immediately emailed for your records.

Drop-offs must call and make an appointment first to be added to building security to permit access to our office. Documents for service must be in a sealed envelope with payment in the form of a money order or attorney check (WE DO NOT ACCEPT CASH) payable to UNDISPUTED LEGAL INC.; All documents are received by our receptionist.


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1. Sunday service of process on persons departing the jurisdiction; As long as the parties to be sued are leaving the jurisdiction, sheriffs and constables have the power to execute the process on Sundays in civil cases pending in magistrate’s court or courts of record.

Sundays are traditionally banned from being used for any work. – Sundays are off-limits for civil proceedings, except those specifically 5

2. There are two ways in which a process may be issued: (a) by a clerk, judge, or attorney; and (b) by the sheriff or other official who receives it.

Failure to comply with this obligation may result in a forfeiture of one hundred twenty-five dollars ($125), which may be collected in any court with jurisdiction over the matter, including costs. On Sunday, the procedure will be made available to the general public.

If a defendant is removing or about to remove their person or property beyond the court’s jurisdiction, the civil process may be served on Sundays on the application of any party, accompanied by an oath or affirmation.

On the reverse of any process issued by the clerk or general sessions judge, it must be clearly stated that it was received by oath from a person who is either the plaintiff or an agent of the plaintiff. 

When it comes to Sunday procedures, the relevant officials are responsible for enforcing the same fines and restrictions as in any other situation.

3. It is permitted for the plaintiff to have two (2) or more defendants in a suit to issue a summons or subpoena in any county where any of the defendants is most likely to be located, with the fact that the summons or subpoena issued in the same suit being noted on each summons or subpoena, which when returned shall be docketed as if only one (1) summons had issued.

The same procedure will be followed if the defendants are not served, as in the event of a comparable process that was not followed in the first place.

4. When issued by a judge of the general sessions, a copy of the document must be returned within 30 days

5. Except in cases where good reason may be proven, the court will impose on the defendant expenses expended in achieving service where a defendant fails to comply with a request for waiver made by a plaintiff

6. There will be additional charges for service, including reasonable attorney’s fees, which will be levied on the defendant under paragraph (2) since they did not comply with our request to forego serving the summons.

7. Under Rule 30.02, 37.02, and 45.02, if a subpoena directs a person to provide specified books, papers, documents, or physical items that comprise or include evidence about any of the subjects covered by Rule 26.02, the subpoena will be subject to the terms of those rules.

8. Rule 45 subpoenas for testimony, books, papers, documents, or physical items shall require the witness to appear at a trial, hearing, or deposition unless otherwise authorized by legislation or by agreement of the parties, except as stated in this Rule 45


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