Summons in a Civil Action

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Form Category: 
AO Forms

The Summons AO-440 Form must be properly completed to include the following:

  1. The caption of the summons must match the caption of the complaint or amended complaint verbatim.
  2. The term “et al.” cannot be used in a summons caption.
  3. If the caption is too long to fit in the space provided, you must enter the name of the first party, indicate “see attached,” and also provide as an attachment a face page of the complaint or an addendum which lists the remaining parties.
  4. Below the caption, the space entitled “To: (Defendant’s name and address)” must contain the name of the defendant(s) and should not be left blank. An attachment or an addendum naming the defendants to be served may be attached to the summons. The attachment must make it clear that the names listed on it belong to the "To:” section identifying the parties to be served. If you include an attachment or an addendum, you must also indicate "see attached" in the “To: (Defendant’s name and address)” section. Alternatively, you may prepare separate summonses naming each defendant in the “To: (Defendant’s name and address)” section.
    Exceptio​n: If a defendant is subject to a different time period for responding to the complaint, as described below, prepare a separate summons with the appropriate time period for that defendant.
    • 21 days: if the defendant is not the U.S., a U.S. agency, or an officer or employee of the U.S. sued in an official capacity.
    • 30 days: if the case is filed under the Freedom of Information Act.
    • 60 days: if the defendant is the U.S., a U.S. agency, or an officer or employee of the U.S. sued in an official capacity. Note: this category does not include state or local government entities.
  5. When two or more defendants have an identical name, but a different party text, the name and party text must be identified in the "To: (Defendant's name and address)" field. The names must be written exactly how the names are listed in the complaint caption. For example: ABC Sales Inc., A California Corporation and ABC Sales Inc., A Delaware Corporation are both named as parties in the complaint. The full name and party text must be included in this field so that the summonses can be correctly issued as to each party. Please refer to the sample provided in the PDF attachment below.
  6. Before uploading any fillable PDF forms in CM/ECF, you must remove all form fields, or metadata under Tools - Protection - Hidden Information in Adobe Acrobat program. One simple method to remove metadata is to print a document using the Adobe PDF print option and then saving.
  7. E-file the proposed summonses using the Civil Event under Service Documents → Service/Waivers of Summons and Complaints → Summons Request.

Note: If you prepare multiple summonses, upload the first summons as the main document, and the remaining summonses as attachments in a single entry. After the clerk issues the summons(es), the Notice of Electronic Filing will be sent to the filer.

Please review the PDF attached below, which includes sample documents to help you prepare your summonses.
AO-440 Example

Click the attachment below to download.


Is Fillable: