Rule 4. Process

Rule 4.05. Service Upon Defendant Outside This State

(1) Whenever the law of this state authorizes service outside this state, the service, when reasonably calculated to give actual notice, may be made.

(a) by any form of service authorized for service within this state pursuant to Rule 4.04;

(b) in any manner prescribed by the law of the state in which service is effected for an action in any of the courts of general jurisdiction in that state;

(c) as directed by the court.

The provisions of this Rule 4.05 are inapplicable when service is effected in a place not within any judicial district of the United States.

(2) Service of process pursuant to this Rule 4.05 shall include a copy of the summons and of the complaint.

(3)Service by mail upon a corporation shall be addressed to an officer or managing agent thereof, or to the chief agent in the county wherein the action is brought, or by delivering the copies to any other agent authorized by appointment or by law to receive service on behalf of the corporation.

(4) Service by mail upon a partnership or unincorporated association (including a limited liability company) that is named defendant under a common name shall be addressed to a partner or managing agent of the partnership or to an officer or managing agent of the association, or to an agent authorized by appointment or by law to receive service on behalf of the partnership or association.

(5)When service of summons, process, or notice is provided for or permitted by registered or certified mail, under the laws of Tennessee, and the addressee, or the addressee’s agent, refuses to accept delivery, and it is so stated in the return receipt of the United States Postal Service, the written return receipt, if returned and filed in the action, shall be deemed an actual and valid service of the summons, process, or notice. Service by mail is complete upon mailing.

(6)  Service by mail shall not be the basis for the entry of a judgment by default unless the record contains either. (a) a return receipt showing personal acceptance by the defendant or by persons designated by Rule 4.05 or statute; or (b) a return receipt stating that the addressee or the addressee’s agent refused to accept delivery, which is deemed to be personal acceptance by the defendant pursuant to Rule 4.05(5). If the defendant is a domestic corporation, a foreign corporation authorized to conduct business in this state, or any entity required to register with the Tennessee Secretary of State and appoint a registered agent, a refusal to accept delivery shall be the basis for a default judgment only where the motion for default is accompanied by evidence from the Tennessee Secretary of State showing that moving party made the certified mail service with the correct entity name and the correct name and address for the registered agent authorized by law to receive service of process.

[Amended by order filed December 29, 2015, effective date July 1, 2016, and as amended by order filed January 8, 2019 effective October 1, 2019.]

Click here for Advisory Commission Comments to Rules 4.01-4.09.


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