Rule 401. Time for Service. Reissuance, Reinstatement and Substitution of Original Process. Copies for Service.

 (a)  Original process shall be served within the Commonwealth within thirty days after the issuance of the writ or the filing of the complaint.

   Official Note

   See Rule 404 for the time for service outside the Commonwealth.

 (b)(1)  If service within the Commonwealth is not made within the time prescribed by subdivision (a) of this rule or outside the Commonwealth within the time prescribed by Rule 404, the prothonotary upon praecipe and upon presentation of the original process, shall continue its validity by reissuing the writ or reinstating the complaint, by writing thereon ‘‘reissued’’ in the case of a writ or ‘‘reinstated’’ in the case of a complaint.

   (2)  A writ may be reissued or a complaint reinstated at any time and any number of times. A new party defendant may be named in a reissued writ or a reinstated complaint.

   (3)  A substituted writ may be issued or a substituted complaint filed upon praecipe stating that the former writ or complaint has been lost or destroyed.

   (4)  A reissued, reinstated or substituted writ or complaint shall be served within the applicable time prescribed by subdivision (a) of this rule or by Rule 404 after reissuance, reinstatement or substitution.

   (5)  If an action is commenced by writ of summons and a complaint is thereafter filed, the plaintiff instead of reissuing the writ may treat the complaint as alternative original process and as the equivalent for all purposes of a reissued writ, reissued as of the date of the filing of the complaint. Thereafter the writ may be reissued, or the complaint may be reinstated as the equivalent of a reissuance of the writ, and the plaintiff may use either the reissued writ or the reinstated complaint as alternative original process.

   Official Note

   If the applicable time has passed after the issuance of the writ or the filing of the complaint, the writ must be reissued or the complaint reinstated to be effective as process. Filing or reinstatement or substitution of a complaint which is used as alternative process under this subdivision, has been held effective in tolling the statute of limitations as the reissuance or substitution of a writ.

 (c)  The copy of the original process to be served upon the defendant shall be attested by the prothonotary or certified by the plaintiff to be a true copy.


   The provisions of this Rule 401 adopted July 5, 1985, effective January 1, 1986, 15 Pa.B. 2452.

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