Effective September 5, 2013, Colorado Rule of Civil Procedure 4 (and a reference in Rule 15) has been amended to add a completely new section stating that a case may be dismissed if a defendant is not served within 63 days after the complaint is filed. A copy of the text is below, as well as a link to the court’s official rule change.
Rule 4. Process
(a) through (k) [NO CHANGE]
(l) No Colorado Rule.
(m) TIME LIMIT FOR SERVICE. IF A DEFENDANT IS NOT SERVED WITHIN 63 DAYS (NINE WEEKS) AFTER THE COMPLAINT IS FILED, THE COURT–ON MOTION OR ON ITS OWN AFTER NOTICE TO THE PLAINTIFF–SHALL DISMISS THE ACTION WITHOUT PREJUDICE AGAINST THAT DEFENDANT OR ORDER THAT SERVICE BE MADE WITHIN A SPECIFIED TIME. BUT IF THE PLAINTIFF SHOWS GOOD CAUSE FOR THE FAILURE, THE COURT SHALL EXTEND THE TIME FOR SERVICE FOR AN APPROPRIATE PERIOD. THIS SUBDIVISION (m) DOES NOT APPLY TO SERVICE IN A FOREIGN COUNTRY UNDER RULE 4(d).
Effective as of October 10, 2013, the form for a summons has also been changed to add specific language explaining the rules governing the next steps after a summons is served:
Form 1. SUMMONS
Caption and body of the Summons form [NO CHANGE]
This Summons is issued pursuant to Rule 4, C.R.C.P., as amended. A copy of the Complaint must be served with this Summons. This form should not be used where service by publication is desired.
WARNING: A VALID SUMMONS MAY BE ISSUED BY A LAWYER AND IT NEED NOT CONTAIN A COURT CASE NUMBER, THE SIGNATURE OF A COURT OFFICER, OR A COURT SEAL. THE PLAINTIFF HAS 14 DAYS FROM THE DATE THIS SUMMONS WAS SERVED ON YOU TO FILE THE CASE WITH THE COURT. YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR CONTACTING THE COURT TO FIND OUT WHETHER THE CASE HAS BEEN FILED AND OBTAIN THE CASE NUMBER. IF THE PLAINTIFF FILES THE CASE WITHIN THIS TIME, THEN YOU MUST RESPOND AS EXPLAINED IN THIS SUMMONS. IF THE PLAINTIFF FILES MORE THAN 14 DAYS AFTER THE DATE THE SUMMONS WAS SERVED ON YOU, THE CASE MAY BE DISMISSED UPON MOTION AND YOU MAY BE ENTITLED TO SEEK ATTORNEY’S FEES FROM THE PLAINTIFF.
TO THE CLERK: If the summons is issued by the clerk of the court, the signature block for the clerk or deputy should be provided by stamp, or typewriter, in the space to the left of the attorney’s name.