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What are the requirements for serving a subpoena in Missouri?

Chillicothe, MO |

My daughter has apparently been named in a proceeding secondary to an auto accident three years ago, while in college in Springfield--I thought her insurance had taken care of this. She is now in graduate school out of state. The local county sheriff's office is trying to serve her. A) Must she be served personally? B) Am I required to identify myself if I am not the person named on the summons? C) Am I required to assist them/provide information?

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Attorney answers 4


Since your daughter does not live with you, you don't have to accept service on her behalf. She does need to be served personally IF there are money damages claimed against her. Her insurance may still be taking care of this case on her behalf but if they did not settle with the other driver and your daughter caused the accident, she may still be held financilaly responsible for this accident for any court judgment over her policy limits amounts. I would have her send a letter to the insurance company demanding that they settle this case within her policy limits IMMEDIATELY!!!! She may want to consult a private attorney to ask about her financial exposure if her insurance company does not protect her financial interests.
You are not required to assist the person attempting to serve the subpoena or provide them with information about your daughter. Nor do you have to identify yourself. I would simply tell them that she does not live there with you, if that is, in fact, the case.
Best of luck in handling this matter.
Annette Griggs


It is not a subpoena; it is a summons. A) Not necessarily, B) Yes C) No


Personal service is accomplished if an adult at your daughter's residence receives the service. No, you aren't required to give any info, but be careful not to lie about who you are, either.

If you have insurance, it might be a good idea to contact your insurance company and let them know what is going on. If you want to stop the process server from bothering you, accept the papers and send them to the insurance company- they have an obligation to defend your daughter and pay any judgment.

If you REALLY want to get on with your life, your daughter can demand that the insurance company settle the claim within the policy limits, rather than allow her to be put at risk for a judgment.

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If she is being served as a party to the suit and not a witness, she must be served with a "summons" and not a subpoena. A summons can be served on anyone over the age of 15 living in the same household; If she lives elsewhere, she has to be served there, either by the Sheriff or by a special process server appointed by the Court. You have no obligation to cooperate or provide information other than to state that she does not live with you.

This comment does not create an attorney-client relationship. The law and its application by the courts is constantly evolving and changing. This discussion is not to be taken as a definitive guide, and should not be relied upon to determine all fact situations. Each set of facts must be examined separately with the current case and statutory law analyzed and applied accordingly.

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