1. When you sue someone, you must follow the rules exactly. When you file a lawsuit in federal court, you must follow the rules in Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (FRCP). The courts can be merciless if you violate their rules of procedure.

2. To file your lawsuit, you must:

a. Deliver to the clerk of court the original of the Complaint and maybe one copy. The lawyers can file electronically. Pro se litigants may be allowed in some cases to file electronically.

b. You must file your Summons in a Civil Action, if you file a complaint. If you file a petition, the clerk may or may not require you to file a Summons.

The various clerks have various requirements on how to fill out the summons. When you present it for filing, they frequently find something wrong with it (called a “kickback”). Ask them how they would like it done and then comply.

c. You pay your filing fee which is approximately $400 unless it is a miscellaneous case in which case the fee is $39. If you are poor, you can file as an indigent and the filing fee will be waived. Some clerk’s offices do not take cash, others do not take checks. You must call ahead and see what the local requirements are.

d. Civil cover sheet is simply a routing slip to assist the clerk’s office. Fill it out as best you can. You do not need any copies.

3. Service of Processes: If you are suing the federal government, you do not need to pay big bucks to a process server. At your option you can serve under Rule 4. Send to the authorities a copy of your summons and complaint. You must mail it registered or certified mail (cheaper) with a return receipt requested, the green card.

The authorities include:

a. the agent or agency involved in your case

b. the US Attorney General in Washington

c. the local US Attorney

d. the banks or persons involved if this is a 7609 case.

4. The instructions and a copy of Rule 4 can be found attached to the 7609 summons. A sample Summons in a Civil Action are found on the PN website under Civil Procedure and 7609. You can call Dr. Clarkson for more information.

5. When the green cards are returned, you must quickly file your Return of Service with the green card attached. The Return of Service form can be found on the PN Website or the courts website. Generally the ROS Form is on the back of the Summons in a Civil Action Form.