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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. 48.161
148.161 Method of substituted service on nonresident.
(1) When authorized by law, substituted service of process on a nonresident or a person who conceals his or her whereabouts by serving a public officer designated by law shall be made by leaving a copy of the process with a fee of $8.75 with the public officer or in his or her office or by mailing the copies by certified mail to the public officer with the fee. The service is sufficient service on a defendant who has appointed a public officer as his or her agent for the service of process. Notice of service and a copy of the process shall be sent forthwith by registered or certified mail by the plaintiff or his or her attorney to the defendant, and the defendant’s return receipt and the affidavit of the plaintiff or his or her attorney of compliance shall be filed on or before the return day of the process or within such time as the court allows, or the notice and copy shall be served on the defendant, if found within the state, by an officer authorized to serve legal process, or if found without the state, by a sheriff or a deputy sheriff of any county of this state or any duly constituted public officer qualified to serve like process in the state or jurisdiction where the defendant is found. The officer’s return showing service shall be filed on or before the return day of the process or within such time as the court allows. The fee paid by the plaintiff to the public officer shall be taxed as cost if he or she prevails in the action. The public officer shall keep a record of all process served on him or her showing the day and hour of service.
(2) If any person on whom service of process is authorized under subsection (1) dies, service may be made on his or her administrator, executor, curator, or personal representative in the same manner.
(3) This section does not apply to persons on whom service is authorized under s. 48.151.
(4) The public officer may designate some other person in his or her office to accept service.
History.ss. 2, 4, ch. 17254, 1935; CGL 1936 Supp. 4274 (8), (10); s. 1, ch. 59-382; s. 4, ch. 67-254; s. 4, ch. 71-114; s. 1, ch. 71-308; s. 57, ch. 90-132; s. 277, ch. 95-147; s. 11, ch. 2022-190.
1Note.Section 11, ch. 2022-190, amended s. 48.161, effective January 2, 2023, to read:

48.161 Method of substituted service on nonresident.

(1) When authorized by law, substituted service of process on a nonresident individual or a corporation or other business entity incorporated or formed under the laws of any other state, territory, or commonwealth, or the laws of any foreign country, may be made by sending a copy of the process to the office of the Secretary of State by personal delivery; by registered mail; by certified mail, return receipt requested; by use of a commercial firm regularly engaged in the business of document or package delivery; or by electronic transmission. The service is sufficient service on a party that has appointed or is deemed to have appointed the Secretary of State as such party’s agent for service of process. The Secretary of State shall keep a record of all process served on the Secretary of State showing the day and hour of service.

(2) Notice of service and a copy of the process must be sent forthwith by the party effectuating service or by such party’s attorney by registered mail; by certified mail, return receipt requested; or by use of a commercial firm regularly engaged in the business of document or package delivery. In addition, if the parties have recently and regularly used e-mail or other electronic means to communicate between themselves, the notice of service and a copy of the process must be sent by such electronic means or, if the party is being served by substituted service, the notice of service and a copy of the process must be served at such party’s last known physical address and, if applicable, last known electronic address. The party effectuating service shall file proof of service or return receipts showing delivery to the other party by mail or courier and by electronic means, if electronic means were used, unless the party is actively refusing or rejecting the delivery of the notice. An affidavit of compliance of the party effectuating service or such party’s attorney must be filed within 40 days after the date of service on the Secretary of State or within such additional time as the court allows. The affidavit of compliance must set forth the facts that justify substituted service under this section and that show due diligence was exercised in attempting to locate and effectuate personal service on the party before using substituted service under this section. The party effectuating service does not need to allege in its original or amended complaint the facts required to be set forth in the affidavit of compliance.

(3) When an individual or a business entity conceals its whereabouts, the party seeking to effectuate service, after exercising due diligence to locate and effectuate personal service, may use substituted service pursuant to subsection (1) in connection with any action in which the court has jurisdiction over such individual or business entity. The party seeking to effectuate service must also comply with subsection (2); however, a return receipt or other proof showing acceptance of receipt of the notice of service and a copy of the process by the concealed party need not be filed.

(4) The party effectuating service is considered to have used due diligence if that party:

(a) Made diligent inquiry and exerted an honest and conscientious effort appropriate to the circumstances to acquire the information necessary to effectuate personal service;

(b) In seeking to effectuate personal service, reasonably employed the knowledge at the party’s command, including knowledge obtained pursuant to paragraph (a); and

(c) Made an appropriate number of attempts to serve the party, taking into account the particular circumstances, during such times when and where such party is reasonably likely to be found, as determined through resources reasonably available to the party seeking to secure service of process.

(5) If any individual on whom service of process is authorized under subsection (1) dies, service may be made in the same manner on his or her administrator, executor, curator, or personal representative.

(6) The Secretary of State may designate an individual in his or her office to accept service.

(7) Service of process is effectuated under this section on the date the service is received by the Department of State.

(8) The Department of State shall maintain a record of each process served pursuant to this section and record the time of and the action taken regarding the service.

(9) This section does not apply to persons on whom service is authorized under s. 48.151.

Note.Former ss. 47.30, 47.32.