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28 U.S. Code § 1655 - Lien enforcement; absent defendants

In an action in a district court to enforce any lien upon or claim to, or to remove any incumbrance or lien or cloud upon the title to, real or personal property within the district, where any defendant cannot be served within the State, or does not voluntarily appear, the court may order the absent defendant to appear or plead by a day certain.

Such order shall be served on the absent defendant personally if practicable, wherever found, and also upon the person or persons in possession or charge of such property, if any. Where personal service is not practicable, the order shall be published as the court may direct, not less than once a week for six consecutive weeks.

If an absent defendant does not appear or plead within the time allowed, the court may proceed as if the absent defendant had been served with process within the State, but any adjudication shall, as regards the absent defendant without appearance, affect only the property which is the subject of the action. When a part of the property is within another district, but within the same state, such action may be brought in either district.

Any defendant not so personally notified may, at any time within one year after final judgment, enter his appearance, and thereupon the court shall set aside the judgment and permit such defendant to plead on payment of such costs as the court deems just.

(June 25, 1948, ch. 646, 62 Stat. 944.)
Historical and Revision Notes

Based on title 28, U.S.C., 1940 ed., § 118 (Mar. 3, 1911, ch. 231, § 57, 36 Stat. 1102).

Word “action” was substituted for “suit,” in view of Rule 2 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.

In view of Rule 4(f) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure permitting service of process anywhere within the territorial limits of the States, the word “State” was substituted for “district” in the first and third paragraphs.

Changes were made in phraseology.