TO: Joint Procedure Committee
FROM: Mike Hagburg
DATE: September 18, 2016
RE: Rule 4, N.D.R.Civ.P., Persons Subject to Jurisdiction; Process; Service
Rod Olson, the court administrator for Unit 2, has requested that the committee consider adoption of a service by web posting system similar to that used in Alaska. This would replace the current system of service by publication. Mr. Olson says that service by publication is expensive and this puts a burden on parties, including our juvenile court. Mr. Olson also says that using service by web posting would make it more likely that notice is actually received by the persons to whom it is directed. Mr. Olson's email is attached.
Alaska's service by web posting procedure is contained in subdivision (e) of Alaska R.Civ.P. 4. The web posting is done on a service website created by the Alaska court system. Service by posting to the court website can be supplemented on court order by service by publication, posting to an online newspaper website, service by email, posting to a social network account, posting on a bulletin board or posting on the front door of the absent party's home. A copy of Alaska Rule 4 is attached.
Also attached is an article on why Alaska chose to switch to the service by web posting system. The article states that the main reason for making the change was because service by publication was ineffective at providing actual notice and default judgment was the result in most service by publication cases. The article states that service by web posting has proven more likely to provide actual notice than service by publication.
The attached proposed amendments to Rule 4 would replace the current service by publication subdivision with language based on the Alaska service by web posting provision. Obviously North Dakota does not yet have a service by web posting website and if the committee is interested in going forward with the proposed change it would be necessary to query the IT department to see what sort of work would need to be done to create such a website. Also, a search would need to be made of all the other rules to determine what other changes would be need to be made to conform with the proposed new web posting service system.