Courts > Court Information > Civil Process

Service of Process in Civil Actions

Generally, civil process may be served by personal service or certified mail. Service of process requiring seizure of property is restricted to those court officers appointed by the court for this purpose.

1) Personal Service.
a. Personal service of civil process can be made by any legally competent adult who is not a party or who is not a relative of either party or an officer of a corporate party. Your process server must fill out the back of the return portion of the paperwork, and have his/her signature witnessed by either a Notary Public or a court clerk after service is made.
b. You may contact a court officer for personal service. 72nd District Court officers will not serve outside of St. Clair County. If the defendant (garnishee) is outside of our county, you will need to contact the local district court to ask for a list of court officers in that area. St. Clair County Court Officers are:
   
Robert Silver
PO Box 312
Marysville, MI 48040
(810) 300-6109 (cell)
(810) 364-6653 (home)
 
 
 
 
 
 
2) Certified Mail.
This is done through the U. S. Post Office. If the defendant is an individual, the certified mail will have to be served "RESTRICTED". This will only allow the defendant to sign for the mail, and not anyone else. If the defendant (garnishee) is a business, please see Businesses & Other Legal Entities below for further restrictions. After the defendant (garnishee) receives the certified mail, you will receive a signed green card from the post office. This card must be returned to the court, stapled to the return portion of your paperwork. If your envelope is returned unclaimed, your court date will have to be postponed and you will have to choose an alternate way of service. Contact the court for another court date.
 
Submission of the completed return to the court showing proof of service is your responsibility. You will not receive a default judgment if this is not filed with the court.
 

MANNER OF SERVICE
Businesses & Other Legal Entities

When you file a lawsuit you must file against a legal entity. A legal entity is a person or anything the state legislature has declared to be a legal entity, such as a corporation, a limited liability company, a professional corporation.

You may, of course, sue one or more legal entities in the same suit.

If you sue a proprietorship, the suit should be against the individual(s) who have on file with the County Clerk an assumed name certificate. For example, Ajax Blinds and Drapes is a proprietorship. You want to sue for some shoddy drapes you purchased. If John Doe owns the company as a sole proprietor, you sue John Doe, doing business as (or D/B/A) Ajax Blinds and Drapes. If however, Ajax Blinds and Drapes is a corporation, you sue Ajax Blinds and Drapes, Inc. (or Co.). You may also want to sue an employee, individually, who works for Ajax and you can do that. If Ajax is a partnership, you sue the partners by name doing business as (D/B/A) Ajax Blinds and Drapes.

Each person or entity must be a legal entity. How the entity is served process is determined by court rules and that differs from individual to corporation.

If you do not know whether a business is a legal entity or not, check with the County Clerk of the county where the business is located. If the County Clerk does not have an assumed name certificate on file for the company, check with the Michigan Department of Consumer and Industry Services to see if it is a corporation. If it is, get the name of the Resident Agent. You may need that.

When you file your case, you must identify each legal entity is being sued - person or corporation or partnership. It is your job to find that out and draft your pleadings accordingly.



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