IOWA RULES AND CIVIL PROCEDURE

Disclaimer: Due to the rapidly changing nature of the law, there will be times when the material on this site will not be current. It is provided for general information purposes only 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 whatsoever 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 info@undisputedlegal.com.  The information listed below may have been amended. For updated process serving legislation, please visit the Iowa State Legislature web site.

Iowa Process Server Requirements

Original notices may be served by any person who is neither a party nor the attorney for a party to the action. A party or party’s agent or attorney may take an acknowledgment of service and deliver a copy of the original notice in connection therewith and may mail a copy of the original notice when mailing is required or permitted under any rule or statute.

Iowa Civil Procedure Note

It is a misdemeanor in the State of Iowa to knowingly resist or obstruct the service or execution by any authorized person of any civil or criminal process or order of any court. [Iowa Statuter; Chapter 719: Obstructing Justice, Section 719.1 Interference with Official Acts

Rule 49. Original notice; form, issuance and service.

A notice informing the defendant, respondent, or other party against whom an action has been filed shall be served in the form and manner provided by this rule. This notice shall be called the original notice.

(a) The original notice, directed to the defendant, respondent, or other party shall contain: (1) the name of the court and the names of the parties; (2) the name, address, telephone number, and if available, the facsimile transmission number of the plaintiff’s or petitioner’s attorney, if any, otherwise the plaintiff’s or petitioner’s address; (3) the date of the filing of the petition; and (4) the time within which these rules or statutes require the defendant, respondent, or other party to serve, and within a reasonable time thereafter file, a motion or answer. The original notice shall also notify the defendant, respondent or other party to be served that in case of the failure to do so by defendant, respondent or other party to be served, judgment by default may be rendered against the defendant, respondent or other party to be served for the relief demanded in the petition. The original notice shall also include the compliance notice required by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). A copy of the petition shall be attached to the original notice except when service is by publication. If service is by publication, the original notice alone shall be published and shall also contain a general statement of the claim or claims, and subject to the limitation in R.C.P. 70(a), the relief demanded.

(b) If the papers are to be served by the sheriff, sufficient copies of the original notice, petition, and other papers to be served together with written directions for service shall be delivered to the clerk.

(c) The original notice shall be signed by the clerk and be under the seal of the court. The clerk may require the party delivering the original notice to the clerk to advance reasonable costs of service.

(d) The clerk shall forthwith deliver the service copies of the original notice, petition and other papers to be served with written directions for service to the sheriff, to a person specially appointed to serve them, or other appropriate person.

(e) Original notices may be served by any person who is neither a party nor the attorney for a party to the action. A party or party’s agent or attorney may take an acknowledgment of service and deliver a copy of the original notice in connection therewith and may mail a copy of the original notice when mailing is required or permitted under any rule or statute.

(f) If service of the original notice is not made upon the defendant, respondent, or other party to be served within 90 days after filing the petition, the court, upon motion or its own initiative after notice to the party filing the petition, shall dismiss the action without prejudice as to that defendant, respondent, or other party to be served or direct an alternate time or manner of service. If the party filing the papers shows good cause for the failure of service, the court shall extend the time for service for an appropriate period. [Court Order October 31, 1997, effective January 24, 1998]

Rule 56.1. Personal service.

Original notices are “served” by delivering a copy to the proper person. Personal service may be made as follows:

(a) Upon any individual who has attained majority who has not been adjudged incompetent either by taking the individual’s signed, dated acknowledgment of service endorsed on the notice; or by serving the individual personally; or by serving, at the individual’s dwelling house or usual place of abode, any person residing therein who is at least 18 years old, but if such place is a rooming house, hotel, club or apartment building, the copy shall there be delivered to such a person who is either a member of the individual’s family or the manager, clerk, proprietor or custodian of such place; or upon the individual’s spouse at a place other than the individual’s dwelling house or usual place of abode if probable cause exists to believe that the spouse lives at the individual’s dwelling house or usual place of abode.

(b) Upon a minor by serving the minor’s conservator or guardian, unless the notice is served on behalf of such conservator or guardian, or the minor’s parent, or some person aged 18 years or more who has the minor’s care and custody, or with whom the minor resides, or in whose service the minor is employed. Where the notice is served on behalf of one who is the conservator or guardian and the conservator or guardian is the only person who would be available upon whom service could be made, the court shall appoint, without prior notice to the ward, a guardian ad litem who shall be served and defend for the minor.

(c) Any person confined in a county care facility, or in any state hospital for the mentally ill, or any patient in the State University of Iowa hospital or its psychopathic ward, or any patient or inmate of any institution in the control of a director of a division of the department of human services or department of corrections or of the United States, may be served by the official in charge of such institution or that person’s assistant. Proof of such service may be made by the certificate of such official, if the institution is in Iowa, or that person’s affidavit if it is out of Iowa.

(e) Any person confined in a county care facility, or in any state hospital for the mentally ill, or any patient in the State University of Iowa hospital or its psychopathic ward, or any patient or inmate of any institution in the control of a director of a division of the department of human services or department of corrections or of the United States, may be served by the official in charge of such institution or that person’s assistant. Proof of such service may be made by the certificate of such official, if the institution is in Iowa, or that person’s affidavit if it is out of Iowa.

(f) Upon a partnership, or an association suable under a common name, or a corporation, by serving any present or acting or last known officer thereof, or any general or managing agent, or any agent or person now authorized by appointment or by law to receive service of original notice, or on the general partner of a partnership.

(g) If the action, whether against an individual, corporation, partnership or other association suable under a common name, arises out of or is connected with the business of any office or agency maintained by the defendant in a county other than where the principal resides, by serving any agent or clerk employed in such office or agency.

(h) Upon any city by serving its mayor or clerk.

(i) Upon any county by serving its auditor or the chair of its board of supervisors.

(j) Upon any school district, school township or school corporation by serving its president or secretary.

(k) Upon the state, where made a party pursuant to statutory consent or authorization for suit in the manner provided by any applicable statute.

(l) Upon any individual, corporation, partnership or association suable under a common name, either as provided in these rules, as provided by any consent to service or in accordance with any applicable statute.

(m) Upon a governmental board, commission or agency, by serving its presiding officer, clerk or secretary.

(n) If service cannot be made by any of the methods provided by this rule, any defendant may be served as provided by court order, consistent with due process of law. [Report 1943; amendment 1945; amended by 58GA, ch152, §201; amended by 62GA, ch 209, §443; amendment 1974; amendment 1975; 1986 Iowa Acts, H.F. 721, §1; Court Order October 31, 1997, effective January 24, 1998] Referred to in R.C.P. 56.2, 59, 64, 106, 233; Ct. R. 123.5; §321.16, 331.307(4), 447.9, 555B.4, 600.11, 600A.6, 626.78, 631.4 Upon a governmental board, commission or agency, by serving its presiding officer, clerk or secretary.

Rule 56.2. Alternate method of service.

A notice informing the defendant, respondent, or other party against whom an action has been filed shall be served in the form and manner provided by this rule. This notice shall be called the original notice.

Every corporation, individual, personal representative, partnership or association that shall have the necessary minimum contact with the state of Iowa shall be subject to the jurisdiction of the courts of this state, and the courts of this state shall hold such corporation, individual, personal representative, partnership or association amenable to suit in Iowa in every case not contrary to the provisions of the Constitution of the United States.

Service may be made on any such corporation, individual, personal representative, partnership or association: (a) as provided in R.C.P. 56.1 within or without the state; or (b) if such service cannot be so made, in any manner consistent with due process of law prescribed by order of the court in which the action is brought.

Nothing herein shall limit or affect the right to serve an original notice upon any corporation, individual, personal representative, partnership or association within or without this state in any manner now or hereafter permitted by statute or rule.
[Adopted effective July 1, 1975]
Referred to in R.C.P. 53; §631.4

Rule 57. Service on Sunday.

Stricken by Report of November 20, 1991, effective July 1, 1992.

Rule 59. Returns of service.

(a) Signature; fees. Iowa officers may make unsworn returns of original notices served by them, as follows: Any sheriff or deputy sheriff, as to service in their own or a contiguous county; any other peace officer, bailiff, or marshal, as to service in their own territorial jurisdiction. The court shall take judicial notice of such signatures. All other returns, except those specified in R.C.P. 56.1(d) and 56.1(e), shall be proved by the affidavit of the person making the service. If served in the state of Iowa by a person other than such peace officer acting within the territories above defined or in another state by a person other than a sheriff or other peace officer, reasonable fees or mileage, not to exceed those allowed to a sheriff under Iowa Code section 331.655, shall be taxed as costs.

(b) Contents. A return of personal service shall state the time, manner, and place thereof and name the person to whom copy was delivered; and if delivered under R.C.P. 56.1(a) to a person other than defendant, respondent, or other party, it must also state the facts showing compliance with said rule.

(c) Endorsement and filing. If a sheriff receives the notice for service, the sheriff shall note thereon the date when received, and serve it without delay in the sheriff’s own or a contiguous county, and upon receiving the appropriate fees, the sheriff shall either file it and the return with the clerk, or deliver it by mail or otherwise to the person from whom the sheriff received it.

(d) Proof of service. The person serving the process shall make proof of service thereof to the court promptly and in any event within the time during which the person served must respond to the process. Failure to make proof of service does not affect the validity of the service.

(e) Rule 59.1. Amendment of process or proof of service.The court may allow any process or proof of service thereof to be amended at any time in its discretion and upon such terms as it deems just, unless it clearly appears that material prejudice would result to the substantial rights of the party against whom the process issued. [Report 1975; Court Order October 31, 1997, effective January 24, 1998] Referred to in R.H.M.I. 9; R.C.S.A. 9
A notice informing the defendant, respondent, or other party against whom an action has been filed shall be served in the form and manner provided by this rule. This notice shall be called the original notice.

Rule 64. Actual service.

Service of original notice in or out of Iowa according to R.C.P. 56.1 supersedes the need of its publication. [Report 1943]
A notice informing the defendant, respondent, or other party against whom an action has been filed shall be served in the form and manner provided by this rule. This notice shall be called the original notice.

Rule 365. Specific provisions

(a) Form; Issuance. Every subpoena shall

(1) state the name of the court from which it is issued and the title of the action, including its docket number;

(2) 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 in the possession, custody or control of that person, or to permit inspection of premises, at a time and place therein specified. A command to produce evidence or to permit inspection may be joined with a command to appear at trial, hearing or deposition, or may be issued separately;

(3) be issued by the clerk of court as provided by these Rules of Civil Procedure or by statute;

(4) set forth the text of subdivisions (b), (c) and (d) of this rule.

(b) Protection of Persons Subject to Subpoenas.

(1) 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 on behalf of 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 and reasonable attorney’s fees.

(2) (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 (c)(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 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 the court by 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.

(3) (A) On timely motion, the court by which a subpoena was issued shall quash or modify the subpoena

(i) fails to allow reasonable time for compliance;

(ii) requires a person who is not a party or an officer of a party to travel to a place outside of the county in which that person resides, is employed or regularly transacts business in person, except that, such a person may be ordered to attend trial anywhere within the state in which the person is served with a subpoena;

(iii) requires disclosure of privileged or other protected matter and no exception or waiver applies; or

(iv) subjects a person to undue burden.

(B) If a subpoena

(i) requires disclosure of a trade secret or other confidential research, development, or commercial information; or

(ii) 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, 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.

(c) Duties in Responding to Subpoena.

(1) 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.

(2) When the information subject to a subpoena is withheld on a claim that 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.

(d) Contempt. Failure by any person without adequate excuse to obey a subpoena served upon that person may be deemed a contempt of the court from which the subpoena issued. 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 (b)(3)(A).

(e) Service. Subpoenas shall be served as prescribed in these rules or by statute.

(f) Notice. Prior notice of any commanded production of documents and things or inspection of premises shall be served on each party in the manner prescribed by R.C.P. 106 (b) and in a manner reasonably calculated to give all parties an opportunity to object before the commanded production or inspection is to occur.

(g) Limits. An attorney may cause a subpoena to be issued only in a pending proceeding governed by these Rules of Civil Procedure and in which the attorney has appeared.
[Adopted effective Jan. 24, 1998.]

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