Rules of Civil Procedure
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Maine Rules of Civil Procedure
Please note that lobbyists are active in the state of Maine 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 Maine Courts website.
- Rule 4. Process
- Rule 45. Subpoena
- MAINE REVISED STATUTES
Rule 4. Process
The summons shall bear the signature or facsimile signature of the clerk, be under the seal of the court, contain the name of the court and the names of the parties, be directed to the defendant, state the name and address of the plaintiff’s attorney, and the time within which these rules require the defendant to appear and defend, and shall notify the defendant that in case of failure to do so judgment by default will be rendered against the defendant for the relief demanded in the complaint.
The summons may be procured in blank from the clerk and shall be filled out by the plaintiff’s attorney as provided in subdivision (a) of this rule. The plaintiff’s attorney shall deliver to the person who is to make service the original summons upon which to make return of service and a copy of the summons and of the complaint for service upon the defendant.
Service of the summons and complaint may be made as follows:
- By mailing a copy of the summons and of the complaint (by first-class mail, postage prepaid) to the person to be served, together with two copies of a notice and acknowledgment form and a return envelope, postage prepaid, addressed to the sender. If no acknowledgment of service under this paragraph is received by the sender within 20 days after the date of mailing, service of the summons and complaint shall be made under paragraph (2) or (3) of this subdivision.
- By a sheriff or a deputy within the sheriff’s county, or other person authorized by law, or by some person specially appointed by the court for that purpose. Special appointments to serve process shall be made freely when substantial savings in travel fees will result.
- By any other method permitted or required by this rule or by statute.
Summons: Personal Service.
The summons and complaint shall be served together. Personal service within the state shall be made as follows:
- Upon an individual other than minor or an incompetent person, by delivering a copy of the summons and of the complaint to the individual personally or by leaving copies thereof at the individual’s dwelling house or usual place of abode with some person of suitable age and discretion then residing therein or by delivering a copy of the summons and of the complaint to an agent authorized by appointment or by law to receive service of process, provided that if the agent is one designated by statute to receive service, such further notice as the statute requires shall be given. The court, on motion, upon a showing that service as prescribed above cannot be made with due diligence, may order service to be made by leaving a copy of the summons and of the complaint at the defendant’s dwelling house or usual place of abode; or to be made by publication pursuant to subdivision (g) of this rule, if the court deems publication to be more effective.
- Upon a minor, by delivering a copy of the summons and of the complaint personally (a) to the minor and (b) also to the minor’s guardian if the minor has one within the state, known to the plaintiff, and if not, then to the minor’s father or mother or other person having the minor’s care or control, or with whom the minor resides, or if service cannot be made upon any of them, then as provided by order of the court.
- Upon an incompetent person, by delivering a copy of the summons and of the complaint personally (a) to the guardian of the incompetent person or a competent adult member of the incompetent person’s family with whom the incompetent person resides, or if the incompetent person is living in an institution, then to the director or chief executive officer of the institution, or if service cannot be made upon any of them, then as provided by order of the court and (b) unless the court otherwise orders, also to the incompetent person.
- Upon a county, by delivering a copy of the summons and of the complaint to one of the county commissioners or their clerk or the county treasurer.
- Upon a town, by delivering a copy of the summons and of the complaint to the clerk or one of the selectmen or assessors.
- Upon a city, by delivering a copy of the summons and of the complaint to the clerk, treasurer, or manager.
- Upon the United States, by delivering a copy of the summons and of the complaint to the United States attorney for the district of Maine or to an assistant United States attorney or clerical employee designated by the United States attorney in a writing filed with the clerk of the United States District Court for the district of Maine and by sending a copy of the summons and of the complaint by registered or certified mail to the Attorney General of the United States at Washington, District of Columbia, and in any action attacking the validity of an order of an officer or agency of the United States not made a party, by also sending a copy of the summons and of the complaint by registered or certified mail to such officer or agency provided that any further notice required by statute or regulation shall also be given. Upon an officer or agency of the United States, by serving the United States and by delivering a copy of the summons and of the complaint to such officer or agency, provided that any further notice required by statute or regulation shall also be given. If the agency is a corporation the copy shall be delivered as provided in paragraph (8) or (9) of this subdivision of this rule. Upon any other public corporation, by delivering a copy of the summons and of the complaint to any officer, director, or manager thereof and upon any public body, agency or authority by delivering a copy of the summons and the complaint to any member thereof.
- Upon a domestic private corporation (a) by delivering a copy of the summons and of the complaint to any officer, director or general agent; or, if no such officer or agent be found, to any person in the actual employment of the corporation; or, if no such person be found, to the Secretary of State, provided that the plaintiff’s attorney shall also send a copy of the summons and of the complaint to the corporation by registered or certified mail, addressed to the corporation’s principal office as reported on its latest annual return; or (b) by delivering a copy of the summons and of the complaint to any agent or attorney in fact authorized by appointment or by statute to receive or accept service on behalf of the corporation, provided that any further notice required by the statute shall also be given.
- Upon a corporation established under the laws of any other state or country (a) by delivering a copy of the summons and of the complaint to any officer, director or agent, or by leaving such copies at an office or place of business of the corporation within the state; or (b) by delivering a copy of the summons and of the complaint to any agent or attorney in fact authorized by appointment or by statute to receive or accept service on behalf of the corporation, provided that any further notice required by the statute shall also be given.
- Upon a partnership subject to suit in the partnership name in any action, and upon all partners whether within or without the state in any action on a claim arising out of partnership business, (a) by delivering a copy of the summons and of the complaint to any general partner or any managing or general agent of the partnership, or by leaving such copies at an office or place of business of the partnership within the state; or (b) by delivering a copy of the summons and of the complaint to any agent, attorney in fact, or other person authorized by appointment or by statute to receive or accept service on behalf of the partnership, provided that any further notice required by the statute shall also be given.
- Upon the State of Maine by delivering a copy of the summons and of the complaint to the Attorney General of the State of Maine or one of the Attorney General’s deputies, either (a) personally or (b) by registered or certified mail, return receipt requested; and in any action attacking the validity of an order of an officer or agency of the State of Maine not made a party, by also sending a copy of the summons and of the complaint by ordinary mail to such officer or agency. The provisions of Rule 4 (f) relating to completion of service by mail shall here apply as appropriate.
- Upon an officer or agency of the State of Maine by the method prescribed by either paragraph (1) or (7) of this subdivision as appropriate, and by also sending a copy of the summons and of the complaint by ordinary mail to the Attorney General of the State of Maine.
- Upon all trustees of an express trust, whether within or without the state, in any action on a claim for relief against the trust, except an action by a beneficiary in that capacity, (a) by delivering a copy of the summons and of the complaint to any trustee, or by leaving such copies at an office or place of business of the trust within the state; or (b) by delivering a copy of the summons and of the complaint to any agent or attorney in fact authorized by appointment or by statute to receive or accept service on behalf of the trust, provided that any further notice required by the statute shall also be given.
- Upon another state of the United States, by the method prescribed by the law of that state for service of process upon it.
Personal Service Outside State.
A person who is subject to the jurisdiction of the courts of the state may be served with the summons and complaint outside the state, in the same manner as if such service were made within the state, by any person authorized to serve civil process by the laws of the place of service or by a person specially appointed to serve it. An affidavit of the person making service shall be filed with the court stating the time, manner, and place of service. Such service has the same force and effect as personal service within the state.
Service Outside State by Mail in Certain Actions.
Where service cannot, with due diligence, be made personally within the state, service of the summons and complaint may be made upon a person who is subject to the jurisdiction of the courts of the state by delivery to that person outside the state by registered or certified mail, with restricted delivery and return receipt requested, in the following cases:
- Where the pleading demands a judgment that the person to be served be excluded from a vested or contingent interest in or lien upon specific real or personal property within the state; or that such an interest or lien in favor of either party be enforced, regulated, defined or limited; or otherwise affecting the title to any property; or
- Where the pleading demands a judgment for divorce or declaring a marriage a nullity. Service by registered or certified mail shall be complete when the registered or certified mail is delivered and the return receipt signed or when acceptance is refused, provided that the plaintiff shall file with the court either the return receipt or, if acceptance was refused, an affidavit that upon notice of such refusal a copy of the summons and complaint was sent to the defendant by ordinary mail.
Service by Publication.
- When Service May Be Made. The court, on motion upon a showing that service cannot with due diligence be made by another prescribed method, shall order service by publication in an action described in subdivision (f) of this rule, unless a statute provides another method of notice, or when the person to be served is one described in subdivision (e) of this rule.
- Contents of Order. An order for service by publication shall include (i) a brief statement of the object of the action; (ii) if the action may affect any property or credits of the defendant described in subdivision (f) of this rule, a description of any such property or credits; and (iii) the substance of the summons prescribed by subdivision (a) of this rule. The order shall also direct its publication once a week for 3 successive weeks in a designated newspaper of general circulation in the county where the action is pending; and the order shall also direct the mailing to the defendant, if the defendant’s address is known, of a copy of the order as published.
- Time of Publication; When Service Complete. The first publication of the summons shall be made within 20 days after the order is granted. Service by publication is complete on the twenty-first day after the first publication. The plaintiff shall file with the court an affidavit that publication has been made.
Return of Service.
The person serving the process shall make proof of service thereof on the original process or a paper attached thereto for that purpose. and shall forthwith return it to the plaintiffs attorney. The plaintiffs attorney shall, within the time during which the person served must respond to the process, file the proof of service with the court. If service is made under paragraph (c)(1) of this rule, return shall be made by the plaintiff’s attorney filing with the court the acknowledgment received pursuant to that paragraph. The attorney’s filing of such proof of service with the court shall constitute a representation by the attorney, subject to the obligations of Rule 11, that the copy of the complaint mailed to the person served or delivered to the officer for service was a true copy. If service is made by a person other than a sheriff or the sheriff’s deputy or another person authorized by law, that person shall make proof thereof by affidavit. The officer or other person serving the process shall endorse the date of service upon the copy left with the defendant or other person. Failure to endorse the date of service shall not affect the validity of service.
At any time in its discretion and upon such terms as it deems just, the court may allow any process or proof of service thereof to be amended, unless it clearly appears that material prejudice would result to the substantial rights of the party against whom the process issued.
Alternative Provisions for Service in a Foreign Country.
- Manner. When service is to be effected upon a party in a foreign country, it is also sufficient if service of the summons and complaint is made: (A) in the manner prescribed by the law of the foreign country for service in that country in an action in any of its courts of general jurisdiction; or (B) as directed by the foreign authority in response to a letter rogatory, when service in either case is reasonably calculated to give actual notice; or (C) upon an individual, by delivery to the individual personally, and upon a corporation or partnership or association, by delivery to an officer, a managing or general agent; or (D) by any form of mail requiring a signed receipt, to be addressed and dispatched by the clerk of the court to the party to be served; or (E) as directed by order of the court. Service under (C) or (E) above may be made by any person who is not a party and is not less than 18 years of age or who is designated by order of the court or by the foreign court. On request, the clerk shall deliver the summons to the plaintiff for transmission to the person or the foreign court or officer who will make the service.
- Return. Proof of service may be made as prescribed by subdivision (h) of this rule, or by the law of the foreign country, or by order of the court. When service is made pursuant to subparagraph (1)(D) of this subdivision, proof of service shall include a receipt signed by the addressee or other evidence of delivery to the addressee satisfactory to the court. [Amended effective February 15, 1990; February 15, 1991; February 15, 1992; February 15, 1993; May 1, 2000.]
Rule 45. Subpoena
- Every subpoena shall
- state the name of the court from which it is issued; and
- state the title of the action, the name of the court in which it is pending, and its civil action number; and
- command each person to whom it is directed to attend and give testimony or to produce and permit inspection and copying of designated books, documents or tangible things, or permit inspection of premises, in the possession, custody or control of that person at a time and place therein specified; and
- set forth the text of subdivisions (c) and (d) of this rule. A command to produce evidence or to permit inspection may be joined with a command to appear at trial or hearing or at deposition, or may be issued separately.
- A subpoena for the Superior Court may issue from the court in any county, and for the District Court from the court in any district.
- The clerk shall issue a subpoena, signed but otherwise in blank, to a party requesting it, who shall complete it before service. An attorney admitted to the Maine Bar may also issue and sign a subpoena as officer of the court.
- A subpoena may be served by any person who is not a party and is not less than 18 years of age, including the attorney of a party. Service of a subpoena upon a person named therein shall be made by delivering a copy thereof to such person and, if the person’s attendance is commanded, by tendering to that person the fees for one day’s attendance and the mileage allowed by law. Prior notice of any commanded production of documents and things or inspection of premises before trial shall be served on each party in the manner prescribed by Rule 5(b).
- A subpoena may be served at any place within the state.
Protection of Persons Subject to Subpoenas.
- 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 for which the subpoena was issued shall enforce this duty and impose upon the party or attorney in breach of this duty an appropriate sanction, which may include, but is not limited to, lost earnings, a reasonable attorney’s fee, and other reasonable expenses incurred in seeking the sanction.
- (A) A person commanded to produce and permit inspection and copying of designated books, papers, documents, or tangible things, or inspection of premises, need not appear in person at the place of production or inspection unless commanded to appear for deposition, hearing, or trial.
- (B) Subject to paragraph (d)(2) of this rule, a person commanded to produce and permit inspection and copying may, within 14 days after service of the subpoena or before the time specified for compliance if such time is less than 14 days after service, serve upon the party or attorney designated in the subpoena a written objection to inspection or copying of any or all of the designated materials or of the premises. If objection is made, the party serving the subpoena shall not be entitled to inspect and copy the materials or inspect the premises except pursuant to an order of any justice or judge of the court for which the subpoena was issued. If objection has been made, the party serving the subpoena may, upon notice to the person commanded to produce, move at any time for an order to compel the production. Such an order to compel production shall protect any person who is not a party or an officer of a party from significant expense resulting from the inspection and copying commanded.
- (A) On timely motion, the court for which a subpoena was issued shall quash or modify the subpoena if it
- fails to allow a reasonable time for compliance;
- requires a resident of this state who is not a party or an officer of a party to travel to attend a deposition outside the county wherein that person resides or is employed or transacts business in person or a distance of more than 100 miles one way, whichever is greater, unless the court otherwise orders; requires a nonresident of the state who is not a party or an officer of a party to attend outside the county wherein that person is served with a subpoena, or farther than 100 miles from the place of service, unless some other convenient place is axed by an order of court;
- requires disclosure of privileged or other protected matter and no exception or waiver applies; or
- subjects a person to undue burden.
- requires disclosure of a trade secret or other confidential research, development, or commercial information, or
- requires disclosure of an unretained expert’s opinion or information not describing specific events or occurrences in dispute and resulting from the expert’s study made not at the request of any party, or
- requires a person who is not a party or an officer of a party to incur substantial expense to travel more than 100 miles one way to attend trial, the court may, to protect a person subject to or affected by the subpoena, quash or modify the subpoena or, if the party in whose behalf the subpoena is issued shows a substantial need for the testimony or material that cannot otherwise be met without undue hardship and assures that the person to whom the subpoena is addressed will be reasonably compensated, the court may order appearance or production only upon specified conditions.
(B) If a subpoena
Duties in Responding to a Subpoena.
- A person responding to a subpoena to produce documents shall produce them as they are kept in the usual course of business or shall organize and label them to correspond with the categories in the demand.
- When information subject to a subpoena is withheld on a claim that it is privileged or subject to protection as trial preparation materials, the claim shall be made expressly and shall be supported by a description of the nature of the documents, communications, or things not produced that is sufficient to enable the demanding party to contest the claim.
Motions concerning subpoenas issued in discovery or pretrial proceedings shall be made under Rule 26(g). Motions concerning subpoenas issued to command appearance or production of documents or tangible things at trial or hearing shall be directed first to the judge or justice presiding at such trial or hearing.
Failure by any person without adequate excuse to obey a subpoena served upon that person may be deemed a contempt of the court in which the action is pending or in the county in which the deposition is taken. An adequate cause for failure to obey exists when a subpoena purports to require a nonparty to attend or produce at a place not within the limits provided by clause (ii) of subparagraph©(3)(A). Punishment for contempt under this subdivision (f) shall be in accordance with Rule 66 and 16 M.R.S.A. § 102. [Amended effective February 15, 1993; February 15, 1996; March 1, 1998; May 1, 1999.]
MAINE REVISED STATUTES
14 M.R.S.A. § 701. Rules for service Service of process shall be as prescribed by rule of court. R.S. 1954, c. 106, § 17; 1959, c. 317, § 77.
§ 704-A. Persons subject to jurisdiction
Declaration of purpose.
It is declared, as a matter of legislative determination, that the public interest demands that the State provide its citizens with an effective means of redress against nonresident persons who, through certain significant minimal contacts with this State, incur obligations to citizens entitled to the state’s protection. This legislative action is deemed necessary because of technological progress which has substantially increased the flow of commerce between the several states resulting in increased interaction between persons of this State and persons of other states. This section, to insure maximum protection to citizens of this State, shall be applied so as to assert jurisdiction over nonresident defendants to the fullest extent permitted by the due process clause of the United States Constitution, 14th amendment.
Causes of action.
Any person, whether or not a citizen or resident of this State, who in person or through an agent does any of the acts hereinafter enumerated in this section, thereby submits such person, and, if an individual, his personal representative, to the jurisdiction of the courts of this State as to any cause of action arising from the doing of any of such acts:
- The transaction of any business within this State;
- Doing or causing a tortious act to be done, or causing the consequences of a tortious act to occur within this State;
- The ownership, use or possession of any real estate situated in this State;
- Contracting to insure any person, property or risk located within this State at the time of contracting;
- Conception resulting in paternity within the meaning of Title 19-A, chapter 53, subchapter I;[fn1]
- Contracting to supply services or things within this State;
- Maintaining a domicile in this State while subject to a marital or family relationship out of which arises a claim for divorce, alimony, separate maintenance, property settlement, child support or child custody; or the commission in this State of any act giving rise to such a claim; or
- Acting as a director, manager, trustee or other officer of a corporation incorporated under the laws of, or having its principal place of business within, this State.
- Maintain any other relation to the State or to persons or property which affords a basis for the exercise of jurisdiction by the courts of this State consistent with the Constitution of the United States.
Service of process upon any person who is subject to the jurisdiction of the courts of this State, as provided in this section, may be made by personally serving the summons upon the defendant outside this State, with the same force and effect as though summons had been personally served within this State.
Jurisdiction based upon this section.
Only causes of action arising from acts enumerated herein may be asserted against a defendant in an action in which jurisdiction over him is based upon this section.
Other service not affected.
Nothing contained in this section limits or affects the right to serve any process in any other manner now or hereafter provided by law. [fn1] 19-A M.R.S.A. § 1551 et seq. (1975, c. 770, § 80, eff. April 16, 1976; 1977, c. 696, §§ 162, 163, eff. March 31, 1978; 1995, c. 694, § D-14, eff. Oct. 1, 1997.)
§ 705. Civil process served on Sunday void
Officer liable A person may not serve or execute any civil process on Sunday, but such a service is void and the person executing it is liable in damages to the party aggrieved as if the person had no process. This section does not apply to service or execution of a protection from harassment order issued under Title 5, chapter 337-A or a protection from abuse order issued under Title 19- A, chapter 101.