Return

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Return

To bring, carry, or send back; to restore, redeliver, or replace in the custody of someone. Merchandise brought back to a seller for credit or a refund. The profit made on a sale; the income from an investment. A schedule of information required by some governmental agencies, such as the tax return that must be submitted to the Internal Revenue Service.

The official report made by a court, body of magistrates, or other official board charged with counting votes cast in an election. The redelivery of a writ, notice, or other form of legal process to the court after its proper service on the defendant or after it cannot be served.

For example, the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure require a plaintiff to begin an action in federal court by preparing a complaint and giving it to the court. Then the clerk of the court issues a summons and delivers the summons and complaint to a U.S. marshal or a deputy, unless the court designates someone else. That person must take the papers, called legal process, and serve them on the named defendant. The process server must promptly report back to the court the circumstances of the service or the failure to serve the papers.

This report with the process server's signature on it is called the return of service. It recites facts to demonstrate that the defendant has actually been given notice that she is required to appear in court. The failure to make a proper return does not make the service invalid or defeat its effectiveness for starting the lawsuit, but it can be grounds for disciplining the process server. The return is important to the court because it is proof that service was properly made on the correct person and that the action has been legally commenced.

Cross-references

Service of Process.

West's Encyclopedia of American Law, edition 2. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

RETURN, contracts, remedies. Persons who are beyond the sea are exempted from the operation of the statute of limitations of Pennsylvania, and of other states, till after a certain time has elapsed after their returning. As to what shall be considered a return, see 14 Mass. 203; 1 Gall. 342; 3 Johns. 263; 3 Wils. 145; 2 Bl. Rep. 723; 3 Littell's Rep. 48; 1 Harr. & Johns. 89, 350; 17 Mass. 180.

A Law Dictionary, Adapted to the Constitution and Laws of the United States. By John Bouvier. Published 1856.
References in classic literature ?
"It's brought into my head, master," returns the woman, her eyes filling with tears, "when I look down at the child lying so.
"Be quite sure of what you say, Tough," returns Bucket, narrowly observant of him.
It heeded the story which the Sagoths told of my return to Phutra, watching the gorilla-men's lips and fingers during the recital.
Fernand departed with the rest, bearing with him the terrible thought that while he was away, his rival would perhaps return and marry Mercedes.
'I should say,' he returned, sipping his wine, 'there could be no doubt about it.
I have another treasure here which I must not lose, but I can arrange that it will still be here when I return for it, and then Barunda's uncle can come back with me to assist me if assistance is needed.
'Your lawyer, Mr Boffin,' returned Lightwood, making a very short note of it with a very rusty pen, 'has the gratification of taking the instruction.
'Oh,' returned Tom, with contemptuous patronage, 'she's a regular girl.
'It seems improbable because it is improbable,' his friend returned.
Whitely and Olson were up and dressed when we returned, and we all sat down to a good breakfast.
In this frame of mind toward her, I waited her return.
Inhabitants, return with confidence to your abodes!