43 CFR § 4.450-5 - Service.

§ 4.450-5 Service.

The complaint must be served upon every contestee in the manner provided in § 4.422(c)(1). Proof of service must be made in the manner provided in § 4.422(c)(2). In certain circumstances, service may be made by publication as provided in paragraph (b)(1) of this section. When the contest is against the heirs of a deceased entryman, the notice must be served on each heir. If the person to be personally served is an infant or a person who has been legally adjudged incompetent, service of notice must be made by delivering a copy of the notice to the legal guardian or committee, if there is one, of such infant or incompetent person. If there is no guardian or committee, then service must be by delivering a copy of the notice to the person having the infant or incompetent person in charge.

(a) Summary dismissal; waiver of defect in service. If a complaint when filed does not meet all the requirements of § 4.450-4(a) and (c), or if the complaint is not served upon each contestee as required by this section, the complaint will be summarily dismissed by the manager and no answer need be filed. However, where prior to the summary dismissal of a complaint a contestee answers without questioning the service or proof of service of the complaint, any defect in service will be deemed waived as to such answering contestee.

(b) Service by publication -

(1) When service may be made by publication. When the contestant has made diligent search and inquiry to locate the contestee, and cannot locate him, the contestant may proceed with service by publication after first filing with the manager an affidavit which shall:

(i) State that the contestee could not be located after diligent search and inquiry made within 15 days prior to the filing of the affidavit;

(ii) Be corroborated by the affidavits of two persons who live in the vicinity of the land which state that they have no knowledge of the contestee's whereabouts or which give his last known address;

(iii) State the last known address of the contestee; and

(iv) State in detail the efforts and inquiries made to locate the party sought to be served.

(2) Contents of published notice. The published notice must give the names of the parties to the contest, legal description of the land involved, the substance of the charges contained in the complaint, the office in which the contest is pending, and a statement that upon failure to file an answer in such office within 30 days after the completion of publication of such notice, the allegations of the complaint will be taken as confessed. The published notice shall also contain a statement of the dates of publication.

(3) Publication, mailing and posting of notice.

(i) Notice by publication shall be made by publishing notice at least once a week for 5 successive weeks in some newspaper of general circulation in the county in which the land in contest lies.

(ii) Within 15 days after the first publication of a notice, the contestant shall send a copy of the notice and the complaint by registered or certified mail, return receipt requested, to the contestee at his last known address and also to the contestee in care of the post office nearest the land. The return receipts shall be filed in the office in which the contest is pending.

(iii) A copy of the notice as published shall be posted in the office where the contest is pending and also in a conspicuous place upon the land involved. Such postings shall be made within 15 days after the first publication of the notice.

(c) Proof of service.

(1) Proof of publication of the notice shall be made by filing in the office where the contest is pending a copy of the notice as published and the affidavit of the publisher or foreman of the newspaper publishing the same showing the publication of the notice in accordance with paragraph (b)(3) of this section.

(2) Proof of posting of the notice shall be by affidavit of the person who posted the notice on the land and by the certificate of the manager or the Director of the Bureau of Land Management as to posting in his office.

(3) Proof of the mailing of notice shall be by affidavit of the person who mailed the notice to which shall be attached the return receipt.

[36 FR 7186, Apr. 15, 1971, as amended at 68 FR 33803, June 5, 2003]