Missouri Revised Statutes

Chapter 506
Commencement of Actions and General Provisions
Section 506.160

August 28, 2013


Service by mail or publication.

506.160. 1. Service by mail or by publication shall be allowed in all cases affecting a fund, will, trust estate, specific property, or any interest therein, or any res or status within the jurisdiction of the court, or in any special proceedings in which notice by mail or by publication is authorized, including but not limited to actions to quiet title and actions to ascertain and determine title to real estate. If the defendant so served does not appear, judgment may be rendered affecting said property, res or status within the jurisdiction of the court as to said defendant, but such service shall not warrant a general judgment against such defendant.

2. A party desiring service by mail shall allege and state either in his verified petition or in a separate affidavit any one or more of the same specific grounds for substituted service as set forth in subsection 3, or shall state any other facts showing why personal service cannot be had on the defendant or defendants in this state. Such petition or affidavit shall be verified by oath of the party or of someone in his behalf, and shall state the address of the party to be served by mail. Upon the filing of such petition or affidavit with the judge or clerk, the clerk shall serve a copy of the summons and of the petition by registered mail, requesting a return receipt signed by addressee only, addressed to the defendant at the address furnished by plaintiff.

3. If the plaintiff or other person for plaintiff shall allege in his verified petition, or at the time of filing same, or at any time thereafter, shall file an affidavit stating that part or all of the defendants are nonresidents of the state, or is a corporation of another state, kingdom or country, and cannot be personally served in this state in the manner prescribed by law for personal service, or have absconded or absented themselves from their usual place of abode in this state, or that they have concealed themselves so that the ordinary process of law cannot be personally served upon them, and the affidavit or the verified petition shall state the present known address of the defendant, if known, or in lieu thereof state that said address of the defendant is unknown, the court or judge or clerk thereof shall issue an order of publication of notice to such defendant or defendants, notifying such defendant or defendants of the commencement of the action, and stating briefly the object and general nature thereof, and describing the property, if any, to be affected. The notice shall also contain the name of the court and the names of the parties to the suit, and shall state the name and address of the attorney for plaintiff, if any, otherwise the plaintiff's address, and shall state that unless said named defendant or defendants file an answer or other pleading or shall otherwise appear and defend against the petition within forty-five days after the date of the first publication, to be stated in the published notice, provided, the court or judge thereof may extend the date within which any such defendant may plead or otherwise appear to a date certain beyond such forty-five day limit judgment by default will be rendered against them. Such notice shall be published at least once each week for four consecutive weeks in some newspaper of general circulation published in the county where suit is instituted, if there be such newspaper published there, which the plaintiff or his attorney of record may designate; if no such newspaper be published in such county, then in some such paper published in this state, which the plaintiff or his attorney of record may designate as most likely to give notice to the defendant or defendants to be notified. If the present known address of the defendant is given, the clerk shall within ten days after said order of publication mail a copy of the notice to each defendant whose address has been stated in the affidavit or verified petition. The clerk shall file a certificate certifying that copies of the notice have been mailed as required by this section, in all cases where the present known address has been given, and such certificates shall be conclusive and binding upon the parties.

4. When the names of one or more defendants are unknown to plaintiff, he may so state in his verified petition, or in a separate affidavit for order of publication, and the court or judge or clerk thereof shall issue an order of publication of notice to the unknown defendant or defendants in the same manner prescribed in subsection 3, and the notice of publication shall be published in like manner. It shall be sufficient to name or describe said unknown defendants as the heirs, grantees, or successors of the person to whom the property to be affected was last known to have been transferred.

5. Whenever publication of notice is ordered for service by mail or by publication in a newspaper, the court may also in its discretion, order that a summons be issued and delivered with a copy of the petition to the sheriff or other person especially appointed to serve the same, for personal service in the ordinary manner if the same can be had.

6. In any of the cases mentioned in subsection 1, the plaintiff may cause a copy of the petition, with a copy of the summons, to be delivered to each defendant residing or being without this state, and at any place within the United States or their territories summoning said defendant to appear and plead within thirty days after service upon said defendant; and if the defendant shall refuse to receive such copy of the petition and summons, the offer of the officer to deliver same to him or them, and such refusal, shall be as effectual service as though such copies were actually delivered to such defendant. Such service may be made by any officer authorized by law to serve process in civil actions within the state or territory where such service is made, or by his deputy, and shall be proved by the affidavit of such officer, or deputy, stating the time and manner of such service, made before the clerk or judge of the court of which affiant is an officer. Such clerk or judge shall certify to the official character of the affiant, and to his authority to serve process in civil actions within the state or territory where such service was made. When such certificate is made by a clerk or judge of a court of record, the same shall be attested by the seal of such court, and when the same is made by a judge of a court not of record, the official character of such judge shall also be certified by the proper officer of the state, under his official seal. Any return of service, made and certified as above provided, shall be prima facie evidence of the facts stated in such return. If the plaintiff, or his attorney of record, in any of the causes mentioned in subsection 1, shall allege in his verified petition, or at the time of filing same, or at any time thereafter shall make the affidavit required by subsection 3, and shall file in said cause proof of service of process on any defendant or defendants, in conformity with the provisions of this section, it shall not be necessary for such plaintiff or plaintiffs to obtain the order for service by mail or by publication provided for in this section or to procure the publication provided in this section.

(L. 1943 p. 353 28, A.L. 1945 p. 640)


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