Summons/Service of Process FAQs

How can I check on the status of a request for issuance of Service of Process?

The Service of Process Search allows you to check on the status of a Service of Process issuance by the defendant’s last name (or company name if a company) or by court docket number. This database reflects all non-archived processes served through the Tennessee Secretary of State as of three working days prior to the requested date.  Service of Process records are archived on an annual basis.

Under what legal authority does the Secretary of State issue service of process?

Service of Process is issued under the following statutes:

  • Tennessee’s Long-Arm Statutes, Tennessee Code Annotated (T.C.A.) Title 20, Chapter 2, Part 2.
  • The Tennessee Business Corporation Act, T.C.A. Title 48, Chapters 11-27
  • Tennessee Nonprofit Corporation Act, T.C.A. Title 48, Chapters 51-68
  • Tennessee Limited Liability Company Act ,T.C.A. Title 48,Chapters 201-248
  • The Tennessee Revised Limited Liability Company Act, T.C.A. Title 48, Chapter 249
  • The Tennessee Revised Uniform Partnership Act, T.C.A.  Title 61, Chapter 1
  • Tennessee Revised Uniform Limited Partnership Act, T.C.A. Title 61, Chapter 2

The Hague Convention is preprinted as an annotation to Rule 4, 28 U.S.C.A., Fed. R. Civ. P., Rules 1011, (1992) (Annotation to Rule 4).

For what reason might a Service of Process filing be rejected by the Division of Business Services?

A Service of Process filing may be rejected for many reasons.  Some of the most common reasons are:

  • An insufficient number of copies of the summons are submitted (an original and one certified copy are required for each defendant).
  • An address for an out-of-state defendant is not provided.
  • The defendant and/or agent for Service of Process has a Tennessee address requiring Service of Process by the Sheriff of the county of the defendant and/or agent not by the Secretary of State.
  • The $20.00 filing fee is not enclosed.
  • The check, bank draft or money order is not made payable to the “Tennessee Secretary of State.”
  • The original and/or certified copy of the summons is not signed by the Clerk or Deputy Clerk.
  • The Clerk’s certified stamp, seal or imprint is not affixed to the summons.
  • The process is to be served on an insurance company requiring Service of Process through the Commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance.
  • The action is instituted in a court outside Tennessee.

How many summonses do the Division of Business Services process annually?

The Division of Business Services processes over 13,800 summonses annually.