Lawsuits: Service of Process In Nevada & Default Judgments in Nevada
Service of Process
After a Lawsuit is filed in Nevada, it must be personally served within 120 days. There are different rules depending on who you must serve. Failure to serve can result in a dismissal of the claim. The attorney must file a motion to extend service and let a judge rule on this issue, but there must be good cause. In the event a person cannot be located, there are other options other than personal service.
(1) If the suit is against a corporation formed under the laws of this state; to the president or other head of the corporation, secretary, cashier, managing agent, or resident agent thereof; provided, when for any reason service cannot be had in the manner hereinabove provided, then service may be made upon such corporation by delivering to the secretary of state, or his deputy, a copy of said summons attached to a copy of the complaint, and by posting a copy of said process in the office of the clerk of the court in which such action is brought or pending; defendant shall have twenty (20) days after such service and posting in which to appear and answer; provided, however, that before such service shall be authorized, plaintiff shall make or cause to be made and filed in such cause an affidavit setting forth the facts showing that personal service on or notice to the officers, managing agent or resident agent of said corporation cannot be had within the state; and provided further, that if it shall appear from such affidavit that there is a last known address of a known officer of said corporation outside the state, plaintiff shall, in addition to and after such service upon the secretary of state and posting, mail or cause to be mailed to such known officer at such address by registered mail, a copy of the summons and a copy of the complaint, and in all such cases defendant shall have twenty (20) days from the date of such mailing within which to answer or plead.
(2) If the suit is against a foreign corporation, or a nonresident partnership, joint-stock company or association, doing business and having a managing or business agent, cashier, or secretary within this state; to such agent, cashier, or secretary or to an agent designated for service of process as required by law; or in the event no such agent is designated, to the secretary of state or the deputy secretary of state, as provided by law.
(3) If against a minor, under the age of fourteen years, residing within this state, to such minor, personally, and also to his father, mother, or guardian; or if there be none within this state; then to any person having the care or control of such minor, or with whom he resides, or in whose service he is employed.
(4) If against a person residing within this state who has been judicially declared to be of unsound mind, or incapable of conducting his own affairs, and for whom a guardian has been appointed, to such person and also to his guardian.
(5) If against a county, city, or town, to the chairman of the board of commissioners, president of the council or trustees, mayor of the city, or other head of the legislative department thereof.
(6) In all other cases to the defendant personally, or by leaving copies thereof at his dwelling house or usual place of abode with some person of suitable age and discretion then residing therein, or by delivering a copy of the summons and complaint to an agent authorized by appointment or by law to receive service of process.
Nevada permits service through the Department of Motor Vehicles & Public Safety (DMV) for persons who have a Nevada Driver’s License, and the claim involves an automobile accident.. Benson & Bingham often serve through the DMV when the defendant’s location has moved or is unknown.
In the event an entity does not answer the service (usually by publication), then a default may be entered against the adverse party. The Court will require a prove up of the case to make sure the service was effectuated—usually by the affidavit. Nevada does prefer to the cases on the Merits where justice prevails. The State of Nevada prefers judgments based on the merits of a case rather than default judgments. In cases involving motions to set aside defaults, the Nevada Supreme Court has repeatedly held "that Nevada has a basic underlying policy that cases should be decided upon the merits." Lesley v. Lesley, 113 Nev. 727, 941 P.2d 451 (1997). See also Bauwens v. Evans, 109 Nev. 537, 538, 853 P.2d 121 (1993). Moreover, "Default judgments are only available as a matter of public policy when an essentially unresponsive party halts the adversarial process." Lindblom v. Prime Hospitality Corp., 120 Nev. 372, 90 P.3d 1283 (2004).