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The Florida Statutes

The 2022 Florida Statutes

Title VI
CIVIL PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE
Chapter 48
PROCESS AND SERVICE OF PROCESS
View Entire Chapter
F.S. 48.181
148.181 Service on nonresident engaging in business in state.
(1) The acceptance by any person or persons, individually or associated together as a copartnership or any other form or type of association, who are residents of any other state or country, and all foreign corporations, and any person who is a resident of the state and who subsequently becomes a nonresident of the state or conceals his or her whereabouts, of the privilege extended by law to nonresidents and others to operate, conduct, engage in, or carry on a business or business venture in the state, or to have an office or agency in the state, constitutes an appointment by the persons and foreign corporations of the Secretary of State of the state as their agent on whom all process in any action or proceeding against them, or any of them, arising out of any transaction or operation connected with or incidental to the business or business venture may be served. The acceptance of the privilege is signification of the agreement of the persons and foreign corporations that the process against them which is so served is of the same validity as if served personally on the persons or foreign corporations.
(2) If a foreign corporation has a resident agent or officer in the state, process shall be served on the resident agent or officer.
(3) Any person, firm, or corporation which sells, consigns, or leases by any means whatsoever tangible or intangible personal property, through brokers, jobbers, wholesalers, or distributors to any person, firm, or corporation in this state is conclusively presumed to be both engaged in substantial and not isolated activities within this state and operating, conducting, engaging in, or carrying on a business or business venture in this state.
History.s. 1, ch. 6224, 1911; RGS 2602; CGL 4249; s. 1, ch. 26657, 1951; s. 1, ch. 57-747; s. 4, ch. 67-254; s. 2, ch. 84-2; s. 279, ch. 95-147; s. 12, ch. 2022-190.
1Note.Section 12, ch. 2022-190, amended s. 48.181, effective January 2, 2023, to read:

48.181 Substituted service on nonresidents and foreign business entities engaging in business in state or concealing their whereabouts.

(1) As used in this section, the term “foreign business entity” means any corporation or other business entity that is incorporated, formed, or existing under the laws of any other state, territory, or commonwealth, or the laws of any foreign country.

(2) The acceptance by any individual who is a resident of any other state, territory, or commonwealth, or of any foreign country, or by any foreign business entity of the privilege extended by law to nonresidents to operate, conduct, engage in, or carry on a business or business venture in this state, or to have an office or agency in this state, is deemed to constitute an appointment by the individual or foreign business entity of the Secretary of State of this state as its agent on whom process in any action or proceeding against the individual or foreign business entity, or any combination thereof, arising out of any transaction or operation connected with or incidental to the business or business venture may be served as substituted service in accordance with this chapter. The acceptance of the privilege is signification of the agreement of the respective individual or foreign business entity that the process served against it in accordance with this chapter is of the same validity as if served personally on the individual or foreign business entity.

(3) If a foreign business entity has registered to do business in this state and has maintained its registration in an active status or otherwise continued to have a registered agent, personal service of process must first be attempted on the foreign business entity in the manner and order of priority described in this chapter as applicable to the foreign business entity. If, after due diligence, the party seeking to effectuate service of process is unable to effectuate service of process on the registered agent or other official as provided in this chapter, the party may use substituted service of process on the Secretary of State.

(4) Any individual or foreign business entity that conceals its whereabouts is deemed to have appointed the Secretary of State as its agent on whom all process may be served, in any action or proceeding against it, or any combination thereof, arising out of any transaction or operation connected with or incidental to any business or business venture carried on in this state by such individual or foreign business entity.

(5) Any individual or foreign business entity that sells, consigns, or leases by any means whatsoever tangible or intangible personal property, through brokers, jobbers, wholesalers, or distributors to any individual, corporation, or other business entity in this state is conclusively presumed to be both engaged in substantial and not isolated activities within this state and operating, conducting, engaging in, or carrying on a business or business venture in this state.

(6) Service pursuant to this section must be effectuated in the manner prescribed by s. 48.161.

Note.Former s. 47.16.