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“You’ve Been Served!”- What to Do if You Get Served With a Summons and Complaint in South Dakota

Hopefully you never get the pleasure of being served with a complaint that someone has against you or your business.  However, if it does happen, there are a few things you need to be aware of. 

Delivery of a summons and complaint is called Service of Process.  There are statutes that put requirements on how it’s done, when it’s done, and who can be served.  Notably, a summons can be served without a complaint in South Dakota if the summons states where the complaint will be filed and if the complaint is served within thirty days of the date of service of the summons.  SDCL § 15-6-4(b).   This is unique in that there are only two other states that have what has been deemed “Hip Pocket Service”: North Dakota and Minnesota. 

After you are served with both the complaint and the summons, you generally have thirty days from the date of service to respond with your answer that presents any defenses and objections to the complaint.  SDCL § 15-6-12(a).  Don’t ignore this time period, because if the clock stops ticking something called Default Judgment can occur.  SDCL § 15-6-55(b).  This means that it could be possible for a Court to determine the truth of the Complaint and what damages the Plaintiff gets without your input. 

Obviously, during the thirty-day time frame, it’s wise to contact an attorney.  You should meet with the attorney to talk about what is in the complaint and let the attorney advise you on your rights and how to move forward.

If you have been served or are expecting it to occur, call the experienced litigation team at Goosmann Law Firm, PLC, in Omaha, Sioux City, or Sioux Falls offices.