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Rule 510.4. Issuance, Service, and Return Of Citation (2013)
(a) Issuance of Citation; Contents. When a petition is filed, the court must immediately issue citation directed to each defendant. The citation must:
(1) be styled "The State of Texas";
(b) Service and Return of Citation.
(2) be signed by the clerk under seal of court or by the judge;
(3) contain the name, location, and address of the court;
(4) state the date of filing of the petition;
(5) state the date of issuance of the citation;
(6) state the file number and names of parties;
(7) state the plaintiff's cause of action and relief sought;
(8) be directed to the defendant;
(9) state the name and address of attorney for plaintiff, or if the plaintiff does not have an attorney, the address of plaintiff;
(10) state the day the defendant must appear in person for trial at the court issuing citation, which must not be less than 10 days nor more than 21 days after the petition is filed;
(11) notify the defendant that if the defendant fails to appear in person for trial, judgment by default may be rendered for the relief demanded in the petition;
(12) inform the defendant that, upon timely request and payment of a jury fee no later than 3 days before the day set for trial, the case will be heard by a jury;
(13) contain all warnings required by Chapter 240 f the Texas Property Code; and
(14) include the following statement: "For further information, consult Part V of the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure, which is available online and also at the court listed on this citation."
(1) Who May Serve. Unless otherwise authorized by written court order, citation must be served by a sheriff or constable.
(c) Alternative Service by Delivery to the Premises.
(2) Method of Service. The constable, sheriff, or other person authorized by written court order receiving the citation must execute it by delivering a copy with a copy of the petition attached to the defendant, or by leaving a copy with a copy of the petition attached with some person, other than the plaintiff, over the age of 16 years, at the defendant's usual place of residence, at least 6 days before the day set for trial.
(3) Return of Service. At least one day before the day set for trial, the constable, sheriff, or other person authorized by written court order must complete and file a return of service in accordance with Rule 501.3 with the court that issued the citation.
(1) When Allowed. The citation may be served by delivery to the premises if:
(A) the constable, sheriff, or other person authorized by written court order is unsuccessful in serving the citation under (b);
(2) Authorization. The judge must promptly consider a sworn statement filed under (1)(C) and determine whether citation may be served by delivery to the premises. The plaintiff is not required to make a request or motion for alternative service.
(B) the petition lists all home and work addresses of the defendant that are known to the plaintiff and states that the plaintiff knows of no other home or work addresses of the defendant in the county where the premises are located; and
(C) the constable, sheriff, or other person authorized files a sworn statement that it has made diligent efforts to serve such citation on at least two occasions at all addresses of the defendant in the county where the premises are located, stating the times and places of attempted service.
(3) Method. If the judge authorizes service by delivery to the premises, the constable, sheriff, or other person authorized by written court order must, at least 6 days before the day set for trial:
(A) deliver a copy of the citation with a copy of the petition attached to the premises by placing it through a door mail chute or slipping it under the front door; if neither method is possible, the officer may securely affix the citation to the front door or main entry to the premises; and
(4) Notation on Return. The constable, sheriff, or other person authorized by written court order must note on the return of service the date the citation was delivered and the date it was deposited in the mail.
(B) deposit in the mail a copy of the citation with a copy of the petition attached, addressed to defendant at the premises and sent by first class mail.
Added by order of April 15th, 2013, eff. Aug. 31, 2013.