U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia Announces New Policy for Accepting Service of Civil Summonses and Complaints
WASHINGTON - The Civil Division of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia has refreshed its guidance on how persons may effect service of civil summonses and complaints on it under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 4(i).
Specifically, the Civil Division has updated its mailing and physical address for service by certified and registered mail and hand delivery, respectively. Additionally, the Civil Division has refreshed its guidance to allow service of civil summonses and complaints by email under certain terms and conditions. The Office hopes that accepting service of civil summons and complaints by email under these terms and conditions will reduce the transactional costs associated with traditional means of service, minimize the number of inadvertent mis-deliveries arising from service by mail, and streamline the Office’s internal intake processes.
The specifics of the new guidance have been posted to the Office’s website (https://www.justice.gov/usao-dc/civil-division)
The details also are below:
Service of Process in Civil Actions
*** EFFECTIVE APRIL 25, 2022 – SUPERSEDES PRIOR GUIDANCE ***
Hand Delivery or Email Service as outlined below are the preferred means for service of civil process (i.e., service of civil summonses and complaints) on the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia because, due to safety and security procedures, all mail sent to the U.S. Attorney’s Office is initially routed through a central mail room at the Department of Justice, which can occasionally result in the delay or mis-delivery of that mail. Service will not be deemed perfected until actual receipt by a Civil Process Clerk at the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Litigants who sue federal defendants should note that Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 4(d)(1) and the corresponding Superior Court Civil Rule 4(c)(4)—which impose a duty to avoid unnecessary expenses of serving the summons on certain individuals, corporations, and associations—do not apply to service on the United States and its agencies, corporations, officers, and employees.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office is not authorized to accept service on behalf of the Attorney General or other federal agencies, corporations, officers, or employees. Thus, if an applicable rule requires any such entities and persons to be served, they must be served separately and in addition to service upon the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Hand Delivery and Certified / Registered Mail Service
Service of process on the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia of civil summonses and complaints under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 4(i)(1)(A) may be made by (i) hand delivery or (ii) registered or certified mail at the following:
Civil Process Clerk
U.S. Attorney’s Office for D.C.
601 D Street, NW
Washington, DC 20530
For hand delivery, the entrance to the U.S. Attorney’s Office is on D Street, NW, between Sixth and Seventh Streets, NW.
In addition to the means of service provided under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 4(i)(1)(A), the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia may also be served with civil summonses and complaints by email according to the following terms and conditions, which must be strictly adhered to if email service is attempted. If service on the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia is performed consistent with the following provisions, the Government will not argue under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(5) that service on the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia has not been accomplished.
- Service may be made at USADC.ServiceCivil@usdoj.gov and no other email address.
- The subject of the email must contain the caption of the suit with the court assigned docket number—e.g., “John v. Doe, 20-9999”.
- The summons, complaint, and all exhibits or other documents must be combined into a single PDF, with the summons coming first in the PDF, unless the file size of the combined PDF exceeds 20 megabytes.
- Service packages exceeding 20 megabytes must be broken into PDF files of no more than 20 megabytes and sent using separate emails with a notation in the subject that it is multi-part service—e.g., “John v. Doe, 20-9999 (Email 1 of 2)”.
- If you are serving a copy of a motion for provisional relief with your summons and complaint (i.e., a motion for a preliminary injunction or temporary restraining order), you must also email the Civil Chief indicating as much. To email the Civil Chief, you may visit this website and follow the corresponding link: https://www.justice.gov/usao-dc/civil-division
If your service under this procedure is received and accepted, you will receive a responsive email indicating as much.
Serving the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia via email under these procedures does not relieve a litigant from delivering or serving the other copies as required by Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 4(i)—e.g., to the Attorney General or relevant agencies. Further, the U.S. Attorney’s Office does not waive other requirements for effective service under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 4—e.g., the requirements of Rule 4(c)(2). Lastly, this procedure for email service applies only for service on the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia and not for U.S. Attorney’s Offices for other federal judicial districts or any other component of the Department of Justice.
Please note that the USADC.ServiceCivil@usdoj.gov email address should not be used for any other communications with the U.S. Attorney’s Office aside from civil service of process under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 4(i)(1)(A). Other communications sent to that address will be deleted and no response will be forthcoming.