Question Submitted by Kannady, 121719 OKAG, 2019 OK AG 9

Docket Nº:2019 OK AG 9
Party Name:Question Submitted by: The Honorable Chris Kannady, State Representative, District 91
Attorney:MIKE HUNTER ATTORNEY GENERAL OF OKLAHOMA DESIREE D. SINGER ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL
Case Date:December 17, 2019
Court:Oklahoma Attorney General Opinions
 
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2019 OK AG 9

Question Submitted by: The Honorable Chris Kannady, State Representative, District 91

No. 2019 OK AG 9

Oklahoma Attorney General Opinions

December 17, 2019

MIKE HUNTER ATTORNEY GENERAL OF OKLAHOMA

DESIREE D. SINGER ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL

¶0 This office has received your request for an official Attorney General Opinion in which you ask, in effect, the following question: Does 11 O.S.2011, § 22-103 require that service of process upon a municipality always include service upon the municipality's mayor, or is service upon the mayor required only when the municipal clerk is absent?

I.

BACKGROUND

¶1 Service of process in civil matters serves a dual purpose: (1) vesting a court with jurisdiction over the defendant, see VanNort v. Davis, 1990 OK CIV APP 95, ¶ 5, 800 P.2d 1082, 1084 (citing Nikwei v. Babcok, 822 F.2d 939 (10th Cir. 1987)); and (2) notifying the defendant of the lawsuit "in a manner and at a time that affords the defendant a fair opportunity to answer the complaint and present defenses and objections," Cornett v. Carr, 2013 OK 30, ¶ 11, 302 P.3d 769, 772 (quoting Henderson v. United States, 517 U.S. 654, 672 (1996)).

¶2 The Oklahoma Pleading Code establishes the methods for service of process in a variety of circumstances. See 12 O.S.Supp.2019, § 2004. With regard to municipal defendants, service "shall be made... by delivering a copy of the summons and the petition to the officer or individual designated by specific statute[.]" Id. § 2004(C)(1)(c)(5). One such statute is Title 11, Section 22-103, 1 which provides as follows:

Any notice or process affecting a municipality shall be served upon the municipal clerk, or in his or her absence then upon a deputy municipal clerk and upon the mayor.

11 O.S.2011, § 22-103. In essence, you have asked whether this statute requires service of process to be made upon the mayor (i) in all cases, regardless of whether service is also made upon either the municipal clerk or a deputy clerk, or, alternatively, (ii) only in cases when the municipal clerk is absent and service is made upon a deputy clerk.

II.

DISCUSSION

¶3 To determine the...

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