Rule 451. Service.
(A) Citations, summonses, and trial notices in summary cases may be served either personally upon the defendant or by mail to the defendants last known address.
(B) When service of a summons has been made by first class mail and the defendant fails to respond or appear within the time specified by these rules, the issuing authority shall cause service to be made upon the defendant personally or by certified mail, return receipt requested. Thereafter, the case shall proceed as provided in these rules.
This rule provides the procedures for service in summary cases. These procedures are different from those provided by Rule 576 for motions and documents in court cases. See also Rule 114, which sets forth, inter alia, the procedures for providing notice to a defendant of court proceedings requiring the defendants presence in court cases and in summary cases on appeal for a trial de novo.
A citation is served personally upon the defendant within the meaning of this rule when the citation is issued to the defendant as provided in Rule 400(A) and the rules of Chapter 4 Part (B1).
Paragraph (B) makes it clear that the issuing authority must only provide additional notice to a defendant by personal service or certified mail when a defendant fails to respond to a summons. It is intended that, when a defendant fails to appear for trial pursuant to a trial notice served by first class mail, the issuing authority need provide no further notice, but should proceed to conduct the trial in the defendants absence pursuant to Rule 455.
Nothing in this rule is intended to preclude a judicial district from utilizing the United States Postal Services return receipt electronic option, or any similar service that electronically provides a return receipt, when using certified mail, return receipt requested.
Rule 80 adopted July 12, 1985, effective January 1, 1986; effective date extended to July 1, 1986; amended February 1, 1989, effective July 1, 1989; Comment revised June 2, 1994, effective September 1, 1994; renumbered Rule 451 and amended March 1, 2000, effective April 1, 2001; Comment revised March 3, 2004, effective July 1, 2004; Comment revised September 18, 2008, effective February 1, 2009.
Committee Explanatory Reports:
Report explaining the June 2, 1994 Comment revision published at 23 Pa.B. 5008 (October 23, 1993).
Final Report explaining the March 1, 2000 reorganization and renumbering of the rules published with the Courts Order at 30 Pa.B. 1478 (March 18, 2000).
Final Report explaining the March 3, 2004 Comment revision updating the cross-references correlative to the March 3, 2004 changes to the motions rules published with the Courts Order at 34 Pa.B. 1561 (March 20, 2004).
Final Report explaining the September 18, 2008 revision of the Comment concerning the United States Postal Services return receipt electronic option published with the Courts Order at 38 Pa.B. 5428 (October 4, 2008).
The provisions of this Rule 451 amended March 3, 2004, effective July 1, 2004, 34 Pa.B. 1547; amended September 18, 2008, effective February 1, 2009, 38 Pa.B. 5425. Immediately preceding text appears at serial page (326497).
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