This article will provide guidance on Michigan 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 Michigan Courts website.
Michigan Process Service Requirements
Michigan Rules of Civil Procedure Rule 2.103 Process; Who may serve
(A) Service Generally. Process in civil actions may be served by any legally competent adult who is not a party or an officer of a corporate party.
(B) Service Requiring Seizure of Property. A writ of restitution or process requiring the seizure or attachment of property may only be served by
(1) a sheriff or deputy sheriff, or a bailiff or court officer appointed by the court for that purpose,
(2) an officer of the Department of State Police in an action in which the state is a party, or
(3) a police officer of an incorporated city or village in an action in which the city or village is a party. A writ of garnishment may be served by any person authorized by subrule (A).
(C) Service in a Governmental Institution. Suppose personal service of process is to be made on a person in a governmental institution, hospital, or home. In that case, service must be made by the person in charge of the institution or by someone designated by that person.
(D) Process Requiring Arrest. Process in civil proceedings requiring a person’s arrest may be served only by a sheriff, deputy sheriff, or police officer or by a court officer appointed by the court for that purpose.
Michigan Rules of Civil Procedure Rule 2.104 Process; Proof of service
(A) Requirements. Proof of service may be made by
(1) written acknowledgment of the receipt of a summons and a copy of the complaint, dated and signed by the person to whom the service is directed or by a person authorized under these Michigan Rules of Civil Procedure rules to receive the service of process;
(2) a certificate stating the facts of service, including the manner, time, date, and place of service, if service is made within the State of Michigan by
(a) a sheriff,
(b) a deputy sheriff or bailiff, if that officer holds office in the county in which the court issuing the process is held,
(c) an appointed court officer,
(d) an attorney for a party; or
(3) an affidavit stating the facts of service, including the manner, time, date, and place of service, and indicating the process server’s official capacity, if any. The service place must be described by giving the address where the service was made or if the service was not made at a particular address by another description of the location.
(B) Failure to File. Failure to file proof of service does not affect the validity of the service.
(C) Publication, Posting, and Mailing. If the manner of service used requires sending a copy of the summons and complaint by mail, the party requesting the summons’ issuance is responsible for arranging the mailing and filing proof of service. Proof of publication, posting, and mailing under MCR 2.106 is governed by MCR 2.106(G).
Michigan Rules of Civil Procedure Rule 2.105 Process; Manner of service
(A) Individuals. The process may be served on a resident or nonresident individual by,
(1) delivering a summons and a copy of the complaint to the defendant personally; or
(2) sending a summons and a copy of the complaint by registered or certified mail, return receipt requested, and delivery restricted to the addressee. Service is made when the defendant acknowledges receipt of the mail. A copy of the return receipt signed by the defendant must be attached to proof showing service under subrule (A)(2).
(B) Individuals; Substituted Service. Service of process may be made
(1) on a nonresident individual, by
(a) serving a summons and a copy of the complaint in Michigan on an agent, employee, representative, sales representative, or servant of the defendant, and
(b) sending a summons and a copy of the complaint by registered mail addressed to the defendant at his or her last know address;
(2) on a minor, by serving a summons and a copy of the complaint on a person having care and control of the minor and with whom he or she resides;
(3) on a defendant for whom a guardian or conservator has been appointed and is acting by serving a summons and a copy of the complaint on the guardian or conservator;
(4) on an individual doing business under an assumed name, by
(a) serving a summons and copy of the complaint on the person in charge of an office or business establishment of the individual, and
(b) Send a summons and a copy of the complaint by registered mail addressed to the individual at their usual residence or last known address.
1. As a matter of public policy, courts want to avoid the overuse of substitute services and the default judgment it can cause. Sechler v. Van Hoey, 83 Mich.App. 252, 268 N.W.2d 364 (1978).
2. A diligent search for an absentee defendant is necessary to supply a fair foundation for and legitimacy to the ordering of substituted service. Kreuger v. Williams, 300 N.W.2d 910 (Mich. 1981); appeal dismissed 101 S.Ct. 3102, 452 U.S. 956.
(C) Partnerships; Limited Partnerships. Service of process on a partnership or limited partnership may be made by
(1) serving a summons and a copy of the complaint on any general partner; or
(2) serving a summons and a copy of the complaint on the person in charge of a partnership office or business establishment and sending a summons and a copy of the complaint by registered mail, addressed to a general partner at his or her usual residence or last known address.
(D) Private Corporations, Domestic and Foreign. Service of process on a domestic or foreign corporation may be made by
(1) serving a summons and a copy of the complaint on an officer or the resident agent;
(2) serving a summons and a copy of the complaint on a director, trustee, or person in charge of an office or business establishment of the corporation and sending a summons and a copy of the complaint by registered mail, addressed to the principal office of the corporation;
(3) serving a summons and a copy of the complaint on the last presiding officer, president, cashier, secretary, or treasurer of a corporation that has ceased to do business by failing to keep up its organization by the appointment of officers or otherwise, or whose term of existence has expired;
(4) sending a summons and a copy of the complaint by registered mail to the corporation or an appropriate corporation officer and the Michigan Corporation and Securities Bureau if
(a) the corporation has failed to appoint and maintain a resident agent or to file a certificate of that appointment as required by law;
(b) the corporation has failed to keep up its organization by the appointment of officers or otherwise; or
(c) the corporation’s term of existence has expired.
(E) Partnership Associations; Unincorporated Voluntary Associations. Service of process on a partnership association or an unincorporated voluntary association may be made by
(1) serving a summons and a copy of the complaint on an officer, director, trustee, agent, or person in charge of an office or business establishment of the association, and
(2) sending a summons and a copy of the complaint by registered mail, addressed to an association’s office. If an office cannot be located, a summons and a copy of the complaint may be sent by registered mail to a member of the association other than the person on whom the summons and complaint were served.
(F) Service on Insurer. If service on an insurer is made by serving the Commissioner of Insurance, as permitted by statute, two summonses and a copy of the complaint must be delivered or mailed by registered mail to the Commissioner of Insurance office.
(G) Public Corporations. Service of process on a public, municipal, quasi-municipal, or governmental corporation, unincorporated board, or public body may be made by serving a summons and a copy of the complaint on:
(1) the chairperson of the board of commissioners or the county clerk of a county;
(2) the mayor, the city clerk, or the city attorney of a city;
(3) the president, the clerk, or a trustee of a village;
(4) the supervisor or the township clerk of a township;
(5) the president, the secretary, or the treasurer of a school district;
(6) the president or the secretary of the Michigan State Board of Education;
(7) the president, the secretary, or another member of the governing body of a corporate body or an unincorporated board having control of a state institution;
(8) the president, the chairperson, the secretary, the manager, or the clerk of any other public body organized or existing under the constitution or laws of Michigan when no other service method is, especially by statute. The service of process may be made on an officer having substantially the same duties as those named or described above, irrespective of title. In any case, service may be made by serving a summons, and a copy of the complaint on a person in charge of the office of an officer on whom service may be made and by sending a summons and a copy of the complaint by registered mail addressed to the officer at his or her office.
(H) Agent Authorized by Appointment or by Law.
(1) Service of process on a defendant may be made by serving a summons and a copy of the complaint on an agent authorized by written appointment or law to receive service of process.
(2) Whenever, under statute or court Michigan Rules of Civil Procedure rule, service of process is to be made on a nongovernmental defendant by service on a public officer, service on the public officer may be made by registered mail addressed to his or her office.
(I) Discretion of the Court.
(1) On a showing that service of process cannot reasonably be made as provided by this rule, the court may by order permit service of process to be made in any other manner reasonably calculated to give the defendant actual notice of the proceedings and an opportunity to be heard.
(2) A request for an order under the rule must be made in a verified motion dated not more than 14 days before it is filed. The motion must set forth sufficient facts to show that process cannot be served under this rule and must state the defendant’s address or last known address or that no address of the defendant is known. If the defendant’s name or present address is unknown, the moving party must set forth facts showing diligent inquiry to ascertain it. A hearing on the motion is not required unless the court so directs.
(3) Service of process may not be made under this subrule before the entry of the court’s order permitting it.
(J) Jurisdiction; Range of Service; Effect of Improper Service.
(1) Provisions for service of the process contained in these rules are intended to satisfy the due process requirement that a defendant is informed of an action by the best means available under the circumstances. These rules are not intended to limit or expand the Michigan courts’ jurisdiction over a defendant. The jurisdiction of a court over a defendant is governed by the United States Constitution and the State of Michigan’s constitution and laws. See MCL 600.701 et seq.; MSA 27A.701 et seq.
(2) There is no territorial limitation on the range of processes issued by a Michigan court.
(3) An action shall not be dismissed for improper service of process unless the service failed to inform the defendant of the action within the time provided in these service rules.
(K) Registered and Certified Mail.
(1) If a rule uses the term “registered mail,” that term includes the term “certified mail,” and the term “certified mail, return receipt requested” includes the term “certified mail, return receipt requested.” However, if certified mail is used, the mail receipt must be postmarked by the post office.
(2) If a rule uses the term “certified mail,” a postmarked mailing receipt is not required. Registered mail may be used when a rule requires certified mail.
Michigan Rules of Civil Procedure Rule 2.506 Subpoena.
(G) Service of Subpoena and Order to Attend; Fees.
(1) A subpoena may be served anywhere in Michigan in the manner provided by MCR 2.105. The fee for attendance and mileage provided by law must be tendered to the person on whom the subpoena is served at the time of service. Tender must be made in cash, by money order, by cashier’s check, or by check drawn on account of an attorney of record in the action or the attorney’s authorized agent.
(2) A subpoena may also be served by mailing a witness a copy of the subpoena and a postage-paid card acknowledging service and addressed to the party requesting service. The fees for attendance and mileage provided by law are to be given to the witness after the witness appears at the court, and the acknowledgment card must so indicate. If the card is not returned, the subpoena must be served in the manner provided in subrule (G)(1).
(3) A subpoena or order to attend directed to a party or an officer, director, or managing agent of a party, maybe served in the manner provided by MCR 2.107, and fees and mileage need not be paid.
MICHIGAN COMPILED LAWS
Michigan Rules of Civil Procedure 600.1831 Civil process; exemptions. [M.S.A. 27a.1831]
(1) Civil process shall not be served on any elector entitled to vote at any election during the day that election is held. Still, upon sufficient cause being shown by affidavit to the satisfaction of a judge of any circuit, that judge may make any restraining order or authorize the issuance and service or execution of any writ on any election day, as on other days.
(2) Civil process shall not be served or executed on Sunday. Still, upon sufficient cause being shown by affidavit to the satisfaction of a judge of any circuit, that judge may make any restraining order or authorize the issuance of and service or execution of any writ on Sunday, as on other days.
Michigan Rules of Civil Procedure 600.1835 Civil process; privileged persons. [M.S.A. 27a.1835]
(1) All persons going to, attending, or returning from any court proceedings in any action in which their presence is needed are privileged from service of process if service could not have been made on them had they not gone to, attended, or returned from the proceedings.
(2) Any person brought into this state by or after waiver of extradition based on a criminal charge is privileged against the service of personal process in civil actions arising out of the same facts as the criminal proceedings which he or she is returned to answer until he or she has been convicted in the criminal proceeding, or, if acquitted, until he or she has a reasonable opportunity to return to the state from which he or she came.
(3) A member of the legislature shall not be privileged from civil process except on a day on which there is a scheduled meeting of the house he or she is a member. However, a member of the legislature shall not be privileged from the civil process on a day when there is a scheduled meeting of the house of which he or she is a member; if such process is executed by certified mail, a return receipt is requested.
600.1841 Civil process; service on Great Lakes or border waters. [M.S.A. 27a.1841] Civil process may be served by law anywhere in the state may be served upon any of the Great Lakes waters on border waters lying within the state. Any civil process required within any county may also be served upon any of the Great Lakes or border waters that adjoin that county and are included in an extension of that county’s boundary lines of the state. In any county where the boundary lines are not capable of extension because irregular process issued from that county may be served on the waters of the Great lakes at any point within 10 miles of that county’s shoreline.
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