Service of Process Outside of Colorado
When a lawsuit is filed in Colorado against an out-of-state resident the Colorado Rules of Civil Procedure (“C.R.C.P. 4”) still govern procedural requirements even though the defendant is located out-of-state .
In particular, personal service must still be obtained on the defendant in order for the court to have jurisdiction over the defendant. C.R.C.P. 4 governs the requirements for service of process for lawsuits in Colorado courts and generally requires that the defendant be personally given the lawsuit in order for service to be effective.
Additionally, Colorado Revised Statute (“C.R.S.”) § 13-1-125 codifies service of process requirements. The statute provides:
(1) Service of process upon any person subject to the jurisdiction of the courts of Colorado may be made by personally serving the summons upon the defendant or respondent outside this state, in the manner prescribed by the Colorado rules of civil procedure, with the same force and effect as if the summons had been personally served within this state.
(2) No service of any summons or other process upon any corporation shall be made outside the state in the manner provided in subsection (1) of this section when such corporation maintains an agent for process upon whom service may be made as provided in rule 4 of the Colorado rules of civil procedure.
(3) Nothing in this section shall limit or affect the right to serve any process as prescribed by the Colorado rules of civil procedure.
In addition to requiring personal service on the out-of-state defendant in conformance with the Colorado Rules of Civil Procedure, the subject matter of the lawsuit must also satisfy constitutional requirements for due process to enable an out-of-state resident to be sued in Colorado courts. These due process requirements are specifically codified in C.R.S. § 13-1-124 and detail the circumstances under which an out-of-state resident has subjected himself to jurisdiction by Colorado courts and, accordingly, can be sued in Colorado.
Importantly, the due process requirements of C.R.S. § 13-1-124 do not come into play where the defendant is, or can be served in Colorado. See Budde v. Kentron Hawaii, Ltd., 565 F.2d 1145 (10th Cir. 1977); White-Rodgers Co. v. District Court, 160 Colo. 491, 418 P.2d 527 (1966). If the defendant is served in Colorado, Colorado courts inherently have jurisdiction over the defendant simply by the defendant’s presence in the state.
Thus, overall, in order for a lawsuit to be effectively initiated against an out-of-state defendant, the lawsuit must:
– Be served on the defendant in a manner that complies with C.R.C.P. 4;
– The lawsuit must comply with jurisdictional due process requirements enumerated in C.R.S. § 13-1-124; and
– If the defendant is a corporation and has a registered agent in Colorado, the Colorado registered agent must be served as opposed to serving an out-of-state registered agent. See C.R.S. § 13-1-125.
Importantly, if these requirements are not met, service of process may be deemed ineffective or the court’s jurisdiction challenged by the defendant.
© 2016 J.D. Porter, LLC; Jordan Porter. Denver, Colorado.