Legislation Enacted to Provide Alternative Method for Effecting Service of Process on Nonresidents in Cases Involving Motor Vehicle Accidents or Collisions

On December 7, 2012, the District of Columbia enacted the Alternative Service of Process Amendment Act of 2012 (Act 19-563). The legislation, which is subject to a 30-day Congressional review period before becoming effective, provides an alternative method for effecting service of process on nonresidents who are involved in motor vehicle accidents or collisions in the District of Columbia. The legislation provides that the operation by a nonresident (or a nonresident’s agent) of a motor vehicle on the District’s roads constitutes consent to the appointment of the Mayor to accept service of process on behalf of the nonresident in any action or proceedings against the nonresident arising from any motor vehicle accident or collision in which the nonresident (or the nonresident’s agent) may be involved while on the District’s roads. The legislation describes the procedures for effecting service of process through the Mayor, and includes safeguards to reduce the risk of abuse of this alternative method for effecting service of process. The legislation states that it is intended, inter alia, “to reduce the amount of service of process related litigation in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia.” The legislation was introduced in April 2012 and considered at a public hearing in June 2012. [Update: On March 19, 2013, the 30-day Congressional review period ended and Act 19-563 became Law 19-242.]