News Flash: Service Rules Require Strict Compliance

The Dallas Court of Appeals has, once again, confirmed that "strict compliance" with rules governing service of process is required.  See my prior posts on the subject here and here.  In this case, the district clerk served an out-of-state defendant via certified mail, return receipt requested.  But while the return of service bore the district clerk's stamp, it was not verified.  The issue revolves around a key difference between Texas Rules of Civil Procedure 107 and 108.  Rule 107 does not require verification by an officer of the court as opposed to an "authorized person."  But in addressing service on out-of-state defendants, Rule 108 makes no such distinction.  It simply requires that the return be sworn to by the person serving the citation.  Agreeing with an earlier decision by the Eastland Court of Appeals, the court held that Rule 108 requires all returns be signed and sworn by the person making service stating "[t]here are no exceptions for or special provisions for officers."  Accordingly, the court of appeals reversed the default judgment because the return did not strictly comply with the rules governing service.  The court's opinion in Kostechko v. Mazaheri can be found at this link.

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