RULE 3. COMMENCEMENT OF ACTION
(a) A civil action is commenced by the service of a summons.
(b) If a complaint is not filed within twelve months from the date of service of the summons, service of the summons is deemed void and the action is deemed not to have commenced.
All that is required to commence a civil action is the service of a summons upon a defendant. This is unlike Fed.R.Civ.P. 3, which requires the filing of a complaint with the court in order to commence an action. Rule 3 was derived from Section 28-0501, North Dakota Revised Code of 1943. See also Rule 4(c) concerning contents of the summons and service of the complaint, and provision of means for a defendant to compel the plaintiff to file the action.
Subdivision (b) was added, effective , to provide that a complaint must be filed within 12 months of the date of service of the summons or service of the summons will be deemed void and the action deemed not to have commenced. For example, if a summons is served on the 20th day of a month, the last day of the 12-month period for filing the complaint would be the 20th day of the same month in the following year. If a complaint is not filed on or prior to that date, the summons would automatically be deemed void and the action would be deemed not to have commenced without the necessity of any affirmative action by the defendant.
SOURCES: Joint Procedure Committee Minutes of , page ; September 27-28, 2001, page ; September 20-21, 1979, page 4.
SUPERSEDED: N.D.C.C. § 28-01-38; N.D.R.C. § 28-0501 (1943).
CROSS REFERENCE: N.D.R.Civ.P. 4 (Persons Subject to Jurisdiction--Process--Service).