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Is there a need to serve new summons after a complaint is amended?


1. Is there a need to serve new summons after a complaint is amended?

● It depends. 
  1. If the defendant has already been served summons on the original complaint, the amended complaint may be served upon him without need of another summons,  even if new causes of action are alleged. The summons on the original complaint which has already been served continues to have its legal effect. 
  2. Conversely, when no summons has yet been validly served on the defendant, new summons for the amended complaint must be served on him. (Philamlife vs. Breva, G.R. No. 147937. November 11, 2004)

● If he (defendant) had not yet appeared, a new summons must be served upon him as regards the amended complaint, otherwise the court would have no power to try the new causes of action alleged therein, unless he had lodged an answer thereto. Simply sending a copy of the amended complaint to the defendant by registered mail is not equivalent to service of summons in such case. However, if the defendant had already appeared in response to the first summons, so that he was already in court when the amended complaint was filed, then ordinary service of that pleading upon him, personally or by mail, would be sufficient, and no new summons need be served upon him.

● Although it is well-settled that an amended pleading supersedes the original one, which is thus deemed withdrawn and no longer considered part of the record, it does not follow ipso facto that the service of a new summons for amended petitions or complaints is required. Where the defendants have already appeared before the trial court by virtue of a summons on the original complaint, the amended complaint may be served upon them without need of another summons, even if new causes of action are alleged. After it is acquired, a court's jurisdiction continues until the case is finally terminated. Conversely, when defendants have not yet appeared in court and no summons has been validly served, new summons for the amended complaint must be served on them. It is not the change of cause of action that gives rise to the need to serve another summons for the amended complaint, but rather the acquisition of jurisdiction over the persons of the defendants. If the trial court has not yet acquired jurisdiction over them, a new service of summons for the amended complaint is required. (Vlason Enterprises Corporation vs. Court of Appeals, G.R. Nos. 121662-64. July 6, 1999)

● If the defendant had appeared in the action, service of an amended complaint (which introduces a new cause of action) in the same manner as any other pleading or motion is sufficient, even if no new summons is served. In the instant case, summons on the first amended complaint was properly served on PAN-ASIATIC. After which, the company filed several motions for extension of time within which to file responsive pleading, and then a Motion for Bill of Particulars, all of which motions were granted by the trial court. With the filing of these motions, PAN-ASIATIC had effectively appeared in the case and voluntarily submitted itself to the jurisdiction of the court. Hence, no new summons on the Second Amended Complaint was necessary, ordinary service being sufficient. (Pan-Asiatic Travel Corp. vs. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. L-62781, August 19, 1988)


2. When an additional defendant is impleaded in the action, is it necessary that summons be served upon him? (Bar 1999)

Yes. Summons must be served upon the defendant who has not yet appeared before the court under the original complaint. It is necessary to acquire jurisdiction over his person otherwise the judgment will be void as to him, unless he voluntarily appears in the action (Sec. 20, Rule 14, Rules of Court). The new defendant cannot be deemed to have already appeared by virtue of summons under the original complaint in which he was not yet a party.


3. M filed a case against ABC company. ABC filed a motion to dismiss on the ground of lack of jurisdiction over its person due to improper service of summons. It contended that the employee who received the summons in Davao City was not among those authorized under the Rules to receive summons for a corporation. M filed an Amended Complaint alleging that summons and other court processes could also be served at its principal office in Ermita, Manila. The trial court denied the motion to dismiss and directed the issuance of an alias summons to be served at ABC's main office in Manila. The alias summons was properly served. Since at the time the complaint was amended no summons had been properly served on the ABC and it had not yet appeared in court, new summons should have been issued on the amended complaint. Did the trial court acquire jurisdiction over the case considering that what was issued was not a new summons but an alias summons?

It is not pertinent whether the summons is designated as an original or an alias summons as long as it has adequately served its purpose. What is essential is that the summons complies with the requirements under the Rules of Court and it has been duly served on the defendant together with the prevailing complaint. In this case, the alias summons satisfies the requirements under the Rules, both as to its content and the manner of service. It contains all the information required under the rules, and it was served on the persons authorized to receive the summons on behalf of the petitioner at its principal office in Manila. Moreover, the second summons was technically not an alias summons but more of a new summons on the amended complaint. It was not a continuation of the first summons considering that it particularly referred to the amended complaint and not to the original complaint. (Philamlife vs. Breva)

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