Other Types of Service of Process

The Rules of Civil Procedure of the West Virginia Supreme Court provide the specific requirements for service through other means when a person or entity cannot be served by the Secretary of State. Specific requirements of law detailing other service requirements in particular types of complaints, procedures or cases are not referenced here.

Service of Summons and Complaint: Who is Responsible?

Most cases begin when the plaintiff files a complaint with the clerk of the court in which the action is to be taken. The requirement for the form of the summons is set out in Rule 4(a). The defendant must then be served. Rule 5(c) states that it is the plaintiff's responsibility to notify the clerk how service is to be made.

If an individual other than a public officer makes the service, that person must be at least 18 years old and may not be a party to the case.

Service by the Clerk
Rule 4(c)(3) provides that a plaintiff may request a summons and complaint be served through the clerk of court. The plaintiff must pay the required fees and direct the clerk either to:

  • Deliver it to the sheriff for service, or

  • Make service by certified mail or by first class mail.

  • Contact the clerk of the court in which the complaint is to be filed for more information. See Contacts and Courts for contact information.

Although this rule also states that the clerk may be directed to forward summons and complaint to the Secretary of State as attorney-in-fact, a plaintiff should not request this form unless the Secretary of State can lawfully serve the particular defendant. See Service by Secretary of State.

To see Rule 4, see Rules of Civil Procedure.

Personal Service

Rule 4(d) describes how personal or substituted service can be made on various types of defendants. The categories listed are:

  • Rule 4(d)(1) Individuals
  • Rule 4(d)(2) Infants and incompetents under 14 years
  • Rule 4(d)(3) Infants and incompetents 14 years or older
  • Rule 4(d)(4) Convicts
  • Rule 4(d)(5) Domestic private corporations
  • Rule 4(d)(6) Domestic public corporations, including a:
    1. City, town or village
    2. County commission or other county tribunal
    3. Board of Education
    4. Other domestic public corporation
  • Rule 4(d)(7) Qualified foreign corporations and business trusts
  • Rule 4(d)(8) Unqualified foreign corporations and business trusts
  • Rule 4(d)(9) Unincorporated associations
  • Personal service can also be made outside the state under Rule 4(f).

Contact the Service of Process Division for further assistance regarding service of process through Secretary of State.​​

If we may be of any further assistance, please don't hesitate to contact us:  304.558.8000   toll free 866.767.8683  email:   Process@wvsos.gov