How Does a Plaintiff Serve a Summons and Complaint in New York?; Commencing a Lawsuit in New York

March 22, 2023by Jeffrey Davis

In New York, a complaint can be served to initiate a civil lawsuit in the following ways:

  1. Personal Service: The complaint can be served in person to the defendant by anyone who is not a party to the lawsuit and is at least 18 years old. The person serving the complaint must give a copy of the complaint to the defendant and fill out an Affidavit of Service to prove that the complaint was properly served.
  2. Substituted Service: If personal service cannot be made, the complaint can be served by leaving a copy of the complaint with someone who is at least 18 years old and who lives or works at the defendant’s residence or place of business. The person who receives the complaint must be informed of its contents, and the server must also mail a copy of the complaint to the defendant’s last known address.
  3. Service by Mail and Acknowledgment of Receipt: If the defendant agrees to accept service by mail, they must sign an Acknowledgment of Receipt form, which must be filed with the court to prove that the defendant received the complaint.
  4. Service by Publication: If the defendant cannot be found after diligent efforts to locate them, the complaint can be served by publishing a notice of the lawsuit in a newspaper approved by the court.

It is important to follow the proper procedures for serving a complaint in New York, as failure to do so can result in delays in the lawsuit or even dismissal of the case. It is recommended to consult with an attorney for guidance on how to properly serve a complaint.