Service of Lawsuit and Summons

I received a visit from the sheriff (or received paperwork in the mail) asking me to accept service of a complaint in connection with a lawsuit. What should I do?

If you are named individually in a lawsuit that is related to your position at the University, you may accept service or you may make arrangements for OLA to accept service on your behalf. If you are not individually named, you should not accept service of the complaint for either the University or any other individual named as a defendant. If you are served or otherwise receive a copy of a summons and complaint relating to your position at the University, keep all the original documents and contact OLA immediately.

If I am served with a summons and complaint, should I sign the acknowledgment or waiver of service form that comes with it?

No. Instead, gather the original complaint and the UNSIGNED acknowledgment or waiver and forward them to OLA immediately. We will forward the document(s) to the Office of Attorney General and request representation for the named defendant.

The reason for this process is simple. The time for filing an answer to a complaint or some other responsive pleading is very short – in federal cases, 20 days from service. This time starts to run when the acknowledgment is signed and returned to the court. Since University employee defendants are entitled to representation provided by the Office of Attorney General, and the process for securing representation can take a few days, it can reduce substantially the amount of time that the Assistant Attorney General handling the case has to respond if you have signed the acknowledgment or waiver and returned it. If the acknowledgment is not signed and returned until the Office of Attorney General receives it, they have the full 20 days to respond.