I thought that I would bring to everyone’s attention the July 2012 amendment to Civil Rule 4.1. Civil Rule 4.1 (b) has been added which allows services by commercial carrier (i.e FedEx). I am involved in a case involving both the Hague Convention on the abduction of children and also service of an Ohio divorce on a person in England. England and the US are signatories to the Hague Convention on the service of judicial process. Under the pre July 2012 service rules, the clerk of courts would issue certified mail which would have to go to the Central Authority in the other country. This could take up to several weeks (such as service to Delhi India) or a week (mail to London). Under the new rules, we can issue service using FedEx. This speeds up the process from a week to a few days. In my case, I arranged with the court and the clerk of courts for the FedEx person to pick up the paperwork from the clerk’s office in a prepaid and addressed FedEx Mailer. The package will then be delivered to the Central Authority in England in 2 days. I thought I would pass this tip on to those doing not only international work but even state to state where time is of the essence. I have pasted below a copy of the new rule for your review.
RULE 4.1 Process: Methods of Service
All methods of service within this state, except service by publication as provided in Civ.R. 4.4(A), are described in this rule. Methods of out-of-state service and for service in a foreign country are described in Civ.R. 4.3 and 4.5.(A) Service by clerk.(1) Methods of service.
(a) Service by United States certified or express mail. Evidenced by return receipt signed by any person, service of any process shall be by United States certified or express mail unless otherwise permitted by these rules. The clerk shall deliver a copy of the process and complaint or other document to be served to the United States Postal Service for mailing at the address set forth in the caption or at the address set forth in written instructions furnished to the clerk as certified or express mail return receipt requested, with instructions to the delivering postal employee to show to whom delivered, date of delivery, and address where delivered.
(b) Service by commercial carrier service. As an alternative to service under Civ.R. 4.1(A)(1)(a), the clerk may make service of any process by a commercial carrier service utilizing any form of delivery requiring a signed receipt. The clerk shall deliver a copy of the process and complaint or other document to be served to a commercial carrier service for delivery at the address set forth in the caption or at the address set forth in written instructions furnished to the clerk, with instructions to the carrier to return a signed receipt showing to whom delivered, date of delivery, and address where delivered.