Newly revised Federal Rules pending before the Supreme Court will mean the time permitted to serve a defendant with a summons and complaint will be reduced from 120 days to 90 days starting on December 1st, 2015.
This proposed rule change is part of a larger set of proposed Federal Rule changes called the “Duke Rules Package”. These amendments aim to “secure the just, speedy, and inexpensive determination of every action”. The proposed change relating to the time allowed to serve a summons and complaint is part of a larger focus to reduce the delay at the beginning of litigation.
If the service has not occurred in the 90 day time frame, the judge may dismiss the action.
The amendments first explored in May 2010 by the Judicial Conference’s Advisory Committee on Civil Rules. Developed from then until April 2013, the changes were officially proposed on August 15th, 2013. Public comments were accepted after the official proposal through February 18th, 2014.
On September 16th, 2014 the Judicial Conference of the United States approved the amendments which are now pending the Supreme Court. Congress also needs to approve the amendments, but it’s not expected to block them.
As long as there is no congressional action, the block of rule changes including the time allowed for service will take place on December 1st, 2015.