2019 Tennessee Code
Title 48 - Corporations and Associations
Chapter 55 - Office and Agent
§ 48-55-105. Procedure for service on domestic or foreign corporation by service on secretary of state.
(a) Service on the secretary of state, when the secretary of state is an agent for a domestic or foreign corporation as provided in § 48-55-104(b), of any process, notice, or demand shall be made by delivering to the secretary of state the original and one (1) copy of such process, notice, or demand, duly certified by the clerk of the court in which the suit or action is pending or brought, together with the proper fee. A statement which identifies which of the grounds, as listed in § 48-55-104(b), for service on the secretary of state is applicable, must be included. The secretary of state shall endorse the time of receipt upon the original and copy and immediately shall send the copy, along with a written notice that service of the original was also made, by registered or certified mail, with return receipt requested, addressed to such corporation at its registered office or principal office as shown in the records on file in the secretary of state's office or as shown in the official registry of the state or country in which such corporation is incorporated. If none of the previously mentioned addresses are available to the secretary of state, service may be made on any one (1) of the incorporators at the address set forth in the charter. The secretary of state may require the plaintiff (or complainant as the case may be) or such person's attorney to furnish the latter address.
(b) The refusal or failure of such corporation to accept delivery of the registered or certified mail provided for in subsection (a), or the refusal or failure to sign the return receipt, shall not affect the validity of such service; and any such corporation refusing or failing to accept delivery of such registered or certified mail shall be charged with knowledge of the contents of any process, notice, or demand contained therein.
(c) When the registered or certified mail return receipt is received by the secretary of state or when a corporation refuses or fails to accept delivery of the registered or certified mail and it is returned to the secretary of state, the secretary of state shall forward the receipt or such refused or undelivered mail to the clerk of the court in which the suit or action is pending, together with the original process, notice, or demand, a copy of the notice sent to the defendant corporation and the secretary of state's affidavit setting forth the secretary of state's compliance with this section. Upon receipt thereof, the clerk shall copy the affidavit on the rule docket of the court and shall mark it, the receipt or refused or undelivered mail, and the copy of notice as of the day received and place them in the file of the suit or action where the process and pleadings are kept, and such receipt or refused or undelivered mail, affidavit, and copy of notice shall be and become a part of the technical record in the suit or action and thereupon service on the defendant shall be complete. Service made under this section shall have the same legal force and validity as if the service had been made personally in this state.
(d) Subsequent pleadings or papers permitted or required to be served on such defendant domestic or foreign corporation may be served on the secretary of state as agent for such defendant corporation in the same manner, at the same cost and with the same effect as process, notice, or demand are served on the secretary of state as agent for such defendant corporation under this section.
(e) No appearance shall be required in the suit or action by the defendant domestic or foreign corporation nor shall any judgment be taken against the defendant domestic or foreign corporation in less than one (1) month after the date service is complete under this section.
(f) The secretary of state shall keep a record of all processes, notices, and demands served upon the secretary of state under this section, which record shall include the time of such service and the secretary of state's action with reference thereto.