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For help, please contact
the Clerk's Office

(206) 370-8400 (Seattle)
(253) 882-3800 (Tacoma)

Completing the Summons
To begin, please download the Summons in a Civil Action (PDF) form. The summons must be completely filled out. Include your name and address where "Plaintiff" is indicated on the form.

You need a summons for each defendant. If the defendant is the United States or one of its agencies, you must prepare a summons for each of the following:

  • United States Attorney,
  • United States Attorney General in Washington D.C., and
  • The governmental agency involved.

Each summons must include information on how long a defendant has to answer your complaint. The response time for each type of defendant can be found in Rule 12 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.


Getting the Summons(es) Issued
Summons(es) are issued by the Clerk's Office. The filing fee must be paid, or In Forma Pauperis application must be granted before summon(es) can be issued for a pro se plaintiff. The complaint will be reviewed by a judicial officer. Once the Clerk's Office has received permission from a judicial officer to issue summons(es), these will be issued and mailed to you. The Court cannot issue summons(es) in blank.


Serving the Summons(es)
Service of the summons and complaint on the defendant(s) must be made within 90 days from the date of filing the complaint or the case will subject to dismissal. All service methods require that a copy of the complaint accompany either the summons or the notice of waiver/waiver form.

Summons can be served by the United States Marshal Service. A court order is necessary to obtain service by this agency.