Service of a Complaint in Hawaii

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In a lawsuit, the first document filed with the Court is usually the Complaint which contains, among other things, information on the parties involved and a concise statement of the facts of the case. The Complaint is accompanied by a Summons which is signed by a clerk of the Court. The next step involves service of the Complaint on the Defendant. According to Rule 4(1)-(8)of the Hawaii Rules of Civil Procedure, service of the Complaint can be made various ways depending on the type of defendant. These methods are listed in Rule 4 of the Hawaii Rules of Civil Procedure as follows:

(1) Upon an individual other than an infant or an incompetent person, (A) by delivering a copy of the summons and of the complaint to the individual personally or in case the individual cannot be found by leaving copies thereof at the individual’s dwelling house or usual place of abode with some person of suitable age and discretion then residing therein or (B) by delivering a copy of the summons and of the complaint to an agent authorized by appointment or by law to receive service of process.

(2) Upon an infant, by delivering a copy of the summons and of the complaint personally (A) to the guardian of the infant’s property or if there is no guardian of the infant’s property or service cannot be made upon such guardian then as provided by order of the court and (B) if the infant be of the age of 16 years or over, also to the infant; and upon an incompetent person, by delivering a copy of the summons and of the complaint personally (A) to the guardian of the incompetent’s property, or if the incompetent is living in an institution then to the director or chief executive officer of the institution, or if service cannot be made upon either of them, then as provided by order of the court, and (B) unless the court otherwise orders, also to the incompetent person.

(3) Upon a domestic or foreign corporation or upon a partnership or other unincorporated association which is subject to suit under a common name, by delivering a copy of the summons and of the complaint to an officer, a managing or general agent, or to any other agent authorized by appointment or by law to receive service of process and, if the agent is one authorized by statute to receive service and the statute so requires, by also mailing a copy to the defendant.

(4) Upon the State by delivering a copy of the summons and of the complaint to the attorney general of the State or to the assistant attorney general or to any deputy attorney general who has been appointed by the attorney general.

(5) Upon an officer or agency of the State by serving the State and by delivering a copy of the summons and of the complaint to such officer or agency. If the agency is a corporation, the copies shall be delivered as provided in paragraph (3) of this subdivision of this rule.

(6) Upon a county, as provided by statute or the county charter, or by delivering a copy of the summons and of the complaint to the corporation counsel or county attorney or any of his or her deputies.

(7) Upon an officer or agency of a county, by serving the county and by delivering a copy of the summons and of the complaint to such officer or agency. If the agency is a corporation the copies shall be delivered as provided in paragraph (3) of this subdivision of this rule.

(8) Upon a defendant of any class referred to in paragraph (1) or (3) of this subdivision of this rule, it is also sufficient if the summons and complaint are served in the manner prescribed by any statute.

H.R.C.P. 4(1) – (8)