On April 20, 2023, the Illinois Supreme Court implemented changes to its procedural rules regarding summons and service of process. We discussed some of those changes in last month’s eBlast. Here, we will discuss additional changes to Rule 102, specifically subsection (f), which now allows for service of a summons and complaint via electronic means. Effective immediately, and “in recognition of society’s increased use of electronic methods to communicate,” a party can serve a summons and complaint on another party by (1) social media, (2) e-mail, or (3) text message.
There are multiple requirements that must be met before and after service is effected via electronic means; the main ones are discussed below. Firstly, the party must motion the court for permission to serve via electronic means and demonstrate that the party to be served “has access to and the ability to use the necessary technology to receive and read the summons and documents electronically.” As long as service is made “in a manner consistent with due process” the trial court “may” enter a “special order” providing for service by electronic means; however, the court is not required to allow service electronically.
Secondly, electronic copies of the summons and complaint must be provided and clear notice provided that the party is being sued. The summons and complaint must also be mailed to the party’s last known address. Lastly, after service of process is effected a return must be filed detailing how service was made and providing a “screen print” (aka screen shot) evincing service by electronic means.
Notably, the committee comments to the rule also state that the enumerated methods for electronic service “are not exclusive” and that the trial court may order a different method for service as long as it is consistent with due process. Ultimately, these changes should streamline service of process and speed up the litigation process as a whole; however, there is bound to be litigation over issues surrounding the due process requirements. Stay tuned.