TBD | How-To Draft a Summons for State Court
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How-To: Draft a State Court Summons (FL)

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

(a) §48 Florida Statutes (2020) | Process and Service of Process
"§48.011 Process; how directed. - Summons, subpoenas, and other process in civil actions run throughout the state. All process except subpoenas shall be directed to all and singular the sheriffs of the state." (b) Rule 1.070 Fla. R. Civ. P. | Process
"(a) Summons; Issuance. Upon the commencement of the action, summons or other process authorized by law shall be issued forthwith by the clerk or judge under the clerk’s or the judge’s signature and the seal of the court and delivered for service without praecipe."

III. Samples

# PDF Comments
1✓ Issued. TBD case. Pro se Filing. Based on template. Disability Notice. Multilingual.
2✓ Issued. Attorney's Filing. Multilingual. 2020.
3✓ Issued. Personal Service on an Individual. Fill-in Form. Multilingual. 2020.
4✓ Issued. Attorney's Filing. Personal service on a corporation. Spanish Included. 2020
5✓ Issued. Attorney's Filing. 2016. Short.
6✓ Issued. Attorney's Filing. 2016. Multilingual.
7✓ Issued. Attorney's Filing. 2016. Disability Notice.
8✓ Issued. Attorney's Filing. 2016. Very brief.
9✓ Issued. Attorney's Filing. 2015. Uncommong format.
10✓ Issued. Attorney's Filing. 2014. Very brief.
11✓ Issued. Pro se Filing. Personal Service on an Individual. Handwritten. 2014. Multilingual.
12✓ Issued. Attorney's Filing. Fill in Form. Very brief.
13✓ Issued. Attorney's Filing. Fill in Form. Complaint attached. 2011.
14✓ Issued. Pro se Filing. Handwritten. Attached Certificate of Indigency.
15✓ Issued. Attorney's Filing. Uncommon form.

IV. Templates

# Word Comments
1Replace all of the placeholder tags with real information (eg "[plfName]" becomes "John Doe").

V. Quick Commentary

  • You must summon the defendant in order to notify him/her that he/she is being sued.
  • You are responsible for drafting the summons.
  • Feel free to use the template (see Part IV - above) to help.
    • TBD is 99% sure it will work for you.
  • Please download as many sample documents as you'd like.
  • Proofread your document as much as possible.
  • Save the final version as a PDF file.
  • File it with your state court
  • The Clerk of the Court will stamp it and issue it back to you.
    • History shows that the Clerk accepts, approves, and issues a wide array of differently formatted summonses.
    • It usually takes only 1-2 days.
    • Get it served thereafter:

      Option A: Sheriff
      • Step #1: Assemble the Package:
        • Process Service Memorandum (Download Template)
        • Certificate of Civil Indigency
        • Summons (2 copies!)
        • Complaint
        • Your Contact Information
        • Delivery Envelope (to house the summons/etc.)
        • Self-Addressed Stamped Envelope
        • see this TextBook Package (PDF)

      • Step #2: Deliver it to the Sheriff (either by mail or in-person).
      • Step #3: Pay the Sheriff

      Option B: Private Process Server
      • Step #1: Assemble the Package
        • see Option A, Step #1 (above)
      • Step #2: Deliver it to the Server (either by mail or in-person)
      • Step #3: Pay the Server (usually $60-135)
        • Note: Private process servers do not have to honor a Certificate of Civil Indigency.

VI. Additional Notes

  • Please review TBD's Analysis on the Prevalance of State Court Summonses for more information.
  • At first, TBD found the summoning process to be rather bewildering; and mechanical. After using this self-created guide, however, TBD has gained mastery of the method. Please use this guide to master the process as well.
  • The procedure for a federal summons is very similar.
  • Of course, this operation differs from how you must proceed at DOAH.
  • Note: This is a very important competency to have! Once you master the ability to summon a defendant you will empower yourself to limit reliance on attorneys and the legal system. Thereby, reducing the likelihood of someone violating you in the first place.
  • Leon County Sheriff's Office: Link

VI. Conclusion

In short, you must summon the defendant in your state court proceeding (unless the defendant has waived service - see Rule 1.070(i)(2) Fla. R. Civ. P.).

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

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

Please get the justice you deserve.


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