The State Organization Index provides an alphabetical listing of government organizations, including commissions, departments, and bureaus.
Top-requested sites to log in to services provided by the state
A civil lawsuit (as opposed to a criminal case) can be filed or started in court by a person, an organization such as a company, or a government agency, against another person, organization or government agency. The word “person” used in this topic includes all these other possibilities.
A plaintiff (the person who is suing) begins a civil lawsuit in court by:
It is a plaintiff’s responsibility to hire an appropriate person to serve each defendant with the copy of the summons and a copy of the complaint.
Appropriate persons to serve are as follows:
You can find Sheriffs at Massachusetts Sheriffs. There are also directories of constables online. You will also need to pay the sheriff or constable for serving each defendant, or give him/her a copy of your court approved indigency form. See information on indigency for what to do if you cannot afford the fees.
If the defendant is willing to accept service, it means s/he is willing to accept a copy of the summons and complaint directly from you. The defendant must sign the original summons where it says “Acceptance of Service” in the presence of a notary public, and you must then deliver the original summons signed by the defendant to the court as proof of service. You can often find a notary public at a bank, and most attorneys are also notary publics. The notary public may charge a small fee to witness the defendant’s signature.
Once you have hired a sheriff or constable, give him/her the original summons, a copy of the summons, and a copy of the complaint. The sheriff or constable will deliver a copy of the summons and a copy of the complaint to each defendant at the last known address(es) you have for each defendant.
If delivery is successful, then for each defendant the sheriff or constable will fill out the second page of the original summons known as the “Return of Service”. The Return of Service is your proof to the court that each defendant was served. If service is made by certified or registered mail, an original signed receipt by each defendant is your proof of service. If someone other than a sheriff, deputy sheriff or special sheriff successfully delivers the papers to a defendant, that person must give you an Affidavit (a written statement signed under the pains and penalties of perjury) describing how service was made on each defendant as proof of service.
Each original summons (NOT a copy) with the signed Return of Service or the signed receipt or the Affidavit must be filed in your court case (delivered to the court) within 90 days after the complaint was filed or the court may dismiss the case. Check with the sheriff or constable to see if s/he will file the original summons in court for you, or whether you must file it yourself. However, it is your responsibility to make sure that each original summons is filed in your court case within the time allowed.