(1) When any law designates a public officer, board, agency, or commission as the agent for service of process on any person, firm, or corporation, service of process thereunder shall be made by leaving two copies of the process with the public officer, board, agency, or commission or in the office thereof, or by mailing said copies to the public officer, board, agency, or commission. The public officer, board, agency, or commission so served shall file one copy in his or her or its records and promptly send the other copy, by registered or certified mail, to the person to be served as shown by his or her or its records. Proof of service on the public officer, board, agency, or commission shall be by a notice accepting the process which shall be issued by the public officer, board, agency, or commission promptly after service and filed in the court issuing the process. The notice accepting service shall state the date upon which the copy of the process was mailed by the public officer, board, agency, or commission to the person being served and the time for pleading prescribed by the rules of procedure shall run from this date. The service is valid service for all purposes on the person for whom the public officer, board, agency, or commission is statutory agent for service of process.
(2) This section does not apply to substituted service of process on nonresidents.
(3) The Chief Financial Officer or his or her assistant or deputy or another person in charge of the office is the agent for service of process on all insurers applying for authority to transact insurance in this state, all licensed nonresident insurance agents, all nonresident disability insurance agents licensed pursuant to s. 626.835, any unauthorized insurer under s. 626.906 or s. 626.937, domestic reciprocal insurers, fraternal benefit societies under chapter 632, warranty associations under chapter 634, prepaid limited health service organizations under chapter 636, and persons required to file statements under s. 628.461.
(4) The Director of the Office of Financial Regulation of the Financial Services Commission is the agent for service of process for any issuer as defined in s. 517.021, or any dealer, investment adviser, or associated person registered with that office, for any violation of any provision of chapter 517.
(5) The Secretary of State is the agent for service of process for any retailer, dealer or vendor who has failed to designate an agent for service of process as required under s. 212.151 for violations of chapter 212.
(6) In addition to the requirements of paragraph (1), above, service on the Secretary of State pursuant to s. 48.081 (1)(e) shall be accompanied by fee of $10.00 and a sworn affidavit of the plaintiff or plaintiff’s attorney setting forth the identity of the plaintiff(s) and defendant(s) and showing that diligent search and inquiry have been made to discover the whereabouts of the persons upon whom service of process would bind the defendant corporation, identifying any process servers, private investigators or computerized search methods used and explaining the reasons for concluding that all of the persons are absent from or cannot be found within the state. The plaintiff or plaintiff’s attorney shall also state in the affidavit the registered agent’s address, the address of the principal place of business and, if different, the last known address of which the plaintiff or plaintiff’s attorney is aware. Instead of the two copies required by paragraph (1), the plaintiff or plaintiff’s attorney shall provide two copies of process for each address listed in the affidavit for the defendant being served plus an additional copy for filing. The Secretary of State, after identifying that the requirements of this paragraph are met by the process and affidavit submitted, shall, in addition to the mailing set forth in paragraph (1), also mail the additional copies to the registered address of record by regular mail and also to the additional addresses listed in the accompanying affidavit both by regular mail and registered or certified mail. The notice of service shall be sent to the plaintiff or plaintiff’s attorney for filing with the court from which the process originated. Should the Department of State determine that the requirements of this section have not been met, it shall return the entire submission to the plaintiff or plaintiff’s attorney with a statement identifying the reason for return.
History.–s. 4, ch. 67-254; ss. 10, 12, 13, 35, ch. 69-106; s. 14, ch. 71-355; s. 29, ch. 71-377; s. 2, ch. 76-100; s. 16, ch. 79-164; s. 4, ch. 83-215; s. 1, ch. 87-316; s. 10, ch. 90-248; s. 276, ch. 95-147; s. 100, ch. 2003-261.
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