Rules of Civil Procedure
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Kentucky Rules of Civil Procedure
Please note that lobbyists are active in the state of Kentucky and laws concerning civil procedure and process serving can change. Therefore the information listed below may have been amended. For updated process serving legislation, please visit the Kentucky Courts website.
Rule 4. Process.
- Rule 4.01. Summons – Issuance – By whom served
- Rule 4.02. Summons – Form
- Rule 4.03. Summons – Return
- Rule 4.04. Personal service – Summons and initiating document
- Rule 4.05. Parties who may be constructively served
- Rule 45.01. For attendance of witnesses – Form – Issuance
- Rule 45.02. For production of documentary evidence
- Rule 45.03. Service [of subpoena]
Rule 4. Process.
Rule 4.01. Summons – Issuance – By whom served.
- Upon the filing of the complaint (or other initiating document) the clerk shall forthwith issue the required summons and, at the direction of the initiating party, either:
- Place a copy of the summons and complaint (or other initiating document) to be served in an envelope, address the envelope to the person to be served at the address set forth in the caption or at the address set forth in written instructions furnished by the initiating party, affix adequate postage, and place the sealed envelope in the United States mail as registered mail or certified mail return receipt requested with instructions to the delivering postal employee to deliver to the addressee only and show the address where delivered and the date of delivery. The clerk shall forthwith enter the facts of mailing on the docket and make a similar entry when the return receipt is received by him or her. If the envelope is returned with an endorsement showing failure of delivery, the clerk shall enter that fact on the docket. The clerk shall file the return receipt or returned envelope in the record. Service by registered mail or certified mail is complete only upon delivery of the envelope. The return receipt shall be proof of the time, place and manner of service. To the extent that the United States postal regulations permit authorized representatives of local, state, or federal governmental offices to accept and sign for “addressee only” mail, signature by such authorized representative shall constitute service on the officer. All postage shall be advanced by the initiating party and be recoverable as costs; or
- Cause the summons and complaint (or other initiating document), with necessary copies, to be transferred for service to any person authorized, other than by paragraph (1) of this Rule, to deliver them, who shall serve the summons and accompanying documents, and his return endorsed thereon shall be proof of the time and manner of service.
- A summons may be issued for service in any county, against any person to be served, and separate or additional summons may be issued against any person to be served at the request of the initiating party.
Rule 4.02. Summons – Form.
The summons shall be issued in the name of the Commonwealth, be dated and signed by the clerk, contain the name of the court and the style and number of the action, and be directed to each defendant, notifying him that a legal action has been filed against him and that unless a written defense is made by him or by an attorney in his behalf within 20 days following the day on which the summons is served on him a judgment may issue against him for the relief demanded.
Rule 4.03. Summons – Return.
The person serving the summons shall make proof thereof to the court promptly, and in any event within the time during which the person served must respond.
Rule 4.04. Personal service – Summons and initiating document.
- The summons and complaint (or other initiating document) shall be served together. The initiating party shall furnish the person making service with such copies as may be necessary.
- Service shall be made upon an individual within this Commonwealth; other than an unmarried infant or person of unsound mind, by delivering a copy of the summons and of the complaint (or other initiating document) to him personally or, if acceptance is refused by offering personal delivery to such person, or by delivering a copy of the summons and of the complaint (or other initiating document) to an agent authorized by appointment or by law to receive service of process for such an individual.
- Service shall be made upon an unmarried infant or a person of unsound mind by serving his resident guardian or committee if there is one known to the plaintiff or, if none, by serving either his father or mother within this state or, if none, by serving the person within this state having control of such individual. If there are no such persons enumerated above, the clerk shall appoint a practicing attorney as guardian ad litem who shall be served. If any of the persons directed by this section to be served is a plaintiff, the person who stands first in the order named who is not a plaintiff shall be served.
- Service shall be made upon a partnership or unincorporated association subject to suit under a common name by serving a partner or managing agent of the partnership or an officer or managing agent of the association, or an agent authorized by appointment or by law to receive service on its behalf.
- Service shall be made upon a corporation by serving an officer or managing agent thereof, or the chief agent in the country wherein the action is brought, or any other agent authorized by appointment or by law to receive service on its behalf.
- Service shall be made upon the Commonwealth or any agency thereof by serving the Attorney-General or any assistant attorney-general.
- Service shall be made upon a county by serving the county judge or, if he is absent from the county, the county attorney. Service shall be made upon a city by serving the chief executive officer thereof or an official attorney thereof. Service on any public board or other such body, except state agencies, shall be made by serving a member thereof.
- Service may be made upon an individual out of this state, other than an unmarried infant, a person of unsound mind or a prisoner, either by certified mail in the manner prescribed in Rule 4.01 (1) (a) or by personal delivery of a copy of the summons and of the complaint (or other initiating document) by a person over 18 years of age. Proof of service shall be made either by the return receipt mentioned in Rule 4.01 (1) (a) or by affidavit of the person making such service, upon or appended to the summons, stating the time and place of service and the fact that the individual served was personally known to him. Such service without an appearance shall not authorize a personal judgment, but for all other purposes the individual summoned shall be before the courts as in other cases of personal service.
- Service may be made upon a nonresident individual who transacts business through an office or agency in this state, or a resident individual who transacts business through an office or agency in any action growing out of or connected with the business of such office or agency, by serving the person in charge thereof.
Case Note: A company is not required by law to admit into its plant or shop a constable, deputy sheriff or any official qualified under the law to serve civil process for the purpose of serving civil process on an employee, and furthermore, if such official stays after a request to leave, he or she could be trespassing, nor does it make a difference if the summons is in connection with a civil or divorce action. Opinion of the Attorney General 79-123.
Rule 4.05. Parties who may be constructively served.
If a party sought to be summoned is: (a) an individual who is a nonresident of this state and known or believed to be absent therefrom, or (b) a corporation or a partnership or unincorporated association which is subject to suit under a common name, having no agent in this state known to the plaintiff upon whom a summons may be lawfully served, or (c) an individual who has been absent from the state for four months or who has departed therefrom with the intent to delay or defraud his creditors, or (d) an individual who has left the county of his residence to avoid the service of a summons or has so concealed himself that a summons cannot be served upon him, or (e) an individual whose name or place of residence is unknown to the plaintiff; the clerk shall forthwith, subject to the provisions of Rule 4.06, make an order upon the complaint warning the party to appear and defend the action within 50 days.
Rule 45.01. For attendance of witnesses – Form – Issuance.
Every subpoena shall be issued by the clerk or other authorized officer, shall state the name of the court and the title of the action, and shall command each person to whom it is directed to attend and give testimony at the time and place and for the party therein specified. The clerk or other authorized officer shall issue a subpoena, or a subpoena for the production of documentary or other tangible evidence, signed but otherwise in blank, to a party requesting it, who shall fill it in before service. Subpoenas shall not be used for any purpose except to command the attendance of the witness and production of documentary or other tangible evidence at a deposition, hearing or trial. Upon order of the Court, with the agreement of the parties, documents may be produced without a deposition. (Amended October 1, 1991, effective November 15, 1991.)
Rule 45.02. For production of documentary evidence.
A subpoena may also command the person to whom it is directed to produce the books, papers, documents or tangible things designated therein; but the court, upon motion made promptly and in any event at or before the time specified in the subpoena for compliance therewith, may (a) quash or modify the subpoena if it is unreasonable and oppressive or (b) 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. (Amended October 18, 1977, effective January 1, 1978.)
Rule 45.03. Service [of subpoena].
(1) A subpoena may be served in any manner that a summons might be served. It may also be served by any person over eighteen years of age, and the affidavit endorsed thereon by such person shall be proof of service or the witnesses may acknowledge service in writing on the subpoena. Service of the subpoena shall be made by delivering or offering to deliver a copy thereof to the person to whom it is directed. A subpoena may be served at any place within this state. Proof of service shall be made by filing with the issuing court a statement showing the date and manner of service and the names of the persons served. The statement must be certified by the server.
(2) Copies of all documents received in response to the subpoena shall be forthwith furnished to all other parties to the action, except on motion and for good cause shown. Any other tangible evidence received in response to the subpoena shall be forthwith made available for inspection by all other parties to the action.
(3) Before any subpoena is served, notice of that subpoena, except those issued for trial, shall be served on each party and any person or entity whose information is being requested.