2.59.309 SERVICE OF PROCESS
(1) The written notice required under 32-5-207(1), MCA, constitutes process under the Montana Administrative Procedure Act, Title 2, chapter 4, part 6, MCA. The mailing of the notice to a person by certified mail under 32-5-207(2), MCA, constitutes effective "service of process" if a return receipt signed by the recipient, who need not be the same person as the addressee, has been returned to and retained by the department as proof of service.
(2) If a certified mail item mailed to a person other than an individual is returned to the department marked "unclaimed" after two notices to claim the item have been given by the United States Postal Service in accordance with established procedures for certified mail, the department shall have a sheriff or other process server attempt personal service upon the person at the same address for which the certified mail item went unclaimed. If that is unsuccessful, the department may, but is not required to, attempt personal service at any other address at which the department reasonably believes the person may be found. If personal service fails, the person is deemed to have been effectively served by operation of law under 32-5-207, MCA.
(3) If a certified mail item mailed to an individual is returned to the department marked "unclaimed," then the department may attempt service on the individual at the same address by regular mail with enclosed notice and acknowledgment of service under Rule 4(d)(3), Montana Rules of Civil Procedure (M.R.Civ.P.)
(4) If a certified mail item mailed to a person is returned to the department marked "undeliverable," "left no forwarding address," "forwarding address expired," or similar basis for nondelivery, the department shall use best efforts to locate another address for the person to be served and attempt service by certified mail there. If the certified mail item mailed to a person other than an individual is returned marked "unclaimed," the procedures in (2) apply. If a certified mail item mailed to an individual is returned marked "unclaimed," the procedures in (3) apply. If the certified mail item to a person other than an individual or a certified mail item to an individual is returned marked "undeliverable," "left no forwarding address," "forwarding address expired," or similar basis for nondelivery, the person or individual is deemed to have been effectively served by operation of law under 32-5-207, MCA.
(5) For purposes of this rule, "best efforts" means efforts that are reasonable under the totality of circumstances, i.e., reasonably calculated to give actual notice to the person being served. The term does not mean that heroic or extraordinary efforts must be made or that only actual notice by perfected Rule 4, M.R.Civ.P. service must ultimately be accomplished.
(6) Where there is no proof of perfected service under this rule, the department shall consider the following circumstances in determining whether to enter a person's default:
(a) what attempts were made to perfect service;
(b) whether and to what extent perfected service is practical in any given case;
(c) whether any attempts were made to contact the person by telephone or means other than by mail;
(d) whether the department knows that the person is located at a particular place other than the address(es) at which attempted service was made; and
(e) whether the person has actual or imputed knowledge of the notice or the process or pendency of the administrative action without service having been perfected.
History: 2-4-106, 32-5-401, MCA; IMP, 2-4-106, 32-5-207, MCA; NEW, 2014 MAR p. 498, Eff. 3/14/14.