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How-To Guide: Drafting a Federal Court Summons

Background: You are litigating a case in federal court
Problem: You are unsure about how to create the summons
Solution: You follow this guide for drafting a successful federal court summons

I. Textbook Definition: "Summons"

Barron's Dictionary of Legal Terms [Fifth Edition] - Gifis, (© 2016) Barron's
"A mandate requiring the appearance of the defendant under penalty of having judgment entered against him for failure to appear. The object of the summons is to notify the defendant that he has been sued."

II. Legal Citations

(b) Rule 4 Fed. R. Civ. P. | SUMMONS
"(b) ISSUANCE. On or after filing the complaint, the plaintiff may present a summons to the clerk for signature and seal. If the summons is properly completed, the clerk must sign, seal, and issue it to the plaintiff for service on the defendant. A summons — or a copy of a summons that is addressed to multiple defendants — must be issued for each defendant to be served." (a) 28 USC §1921 | UNITED STATES MARSHAL’S FEES
"(1) The United States marshals or deputy marshals shall routinely collect, and a court may tax as costs, fees for the following:
(A) Serving a writ of possession, partition, execution, attachment in rem, or libel in admiralty, warrant, attachment, summons, complaints, or any other writ, order or process in any case or proceeding."

III. Samples

# PDF Comments
1✓ Issued. TBD case. Fill in form. Clerk added the case number. FL.
2✓ Issued. ✓ Served. Attorney Filing. Fill in Form (AO440). NY.
3✓ Issued. ✓ Served. Attorney Filing. Fill in Form (AO440). Multiple people served. NY.
4✓ Issued. ✓ Served. Attorney Filing. Fill in Form (AO440). NY.
5✓ Issued. ✓ Served. Attorney Filing. Fill in Form (AO440). Handwritten. NY.

IV. Forms

# Word Comments
1[Official Form] | Waiver of Summons Requirement | Type your information on the page
2[Official Form] | Summons to be Issued | Type your information on the page.
3[Official Form] | US Marshal Service Request | Type your information on the page

V. Quick Commentary

VI. Additional Notes

VI. Conclusion

In short, you must summon the defendant in your federal court proceeding (unless the defendant has waived service - see Rule 4(d) Fed. R. Civ. P.; also see IV.1 (above)).

If you are indigent, the Marshal will serve the defendant for free.

Congratulations! You are now booked up on federal court summonses!

Please get the justice you deserve.


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