Nonresident agents or brokers - Service of process.
(a) Each licensed nonresident producer shall be considered to have performed acts equivalent to and constituting an appointment of the commissioner as his or her attorney to receive service of legal process issued against the nonresident producer in this state upon causes of action arising within this state out of transactions under the nonresident producer's license. Service upon the commissioner as such attorney shall constitute effective legal service upon the nonresident producer.
(b) The appointment shall be irrevocable for as long as there may be any such cause of action in this state against the nonresident producer.
(c) Service of process under this section shall be made by leaving three copies of the summons and complaint, or other process, with the commissioner, along with payment of the fee prescribed in Section 27-4-2, and the service shall be sufficient service upon the nonresident if notice of the service and a copy of the summons and complaint or other process are forthwith sent by registered or certified mail to the defendant by the commissioner; and the defendant's return and the certificate of the commissioner certifying compliance herewith shall be filed in the office of the clerk of court, or in the court or tribunal wherein the action is pending. The certificate of the commissioner shall show the date of the mailing by registered or certified mail of the notice of the service and copy of the summons and complaint, or other process, to the nonresident defendant and the date of the receipt of the return card and shall be signed by the commissioner. The commissioner may give the nonresident defendant notice of such service upon him or her, in lieu of the notice of service hereinabove provided to be given by registered or certified mail, in the following manner:
(1) By having a notice of such service and a copy of the summons and complaint, or other process, served upon the nonresident defendant, if found within the State of Alabama, by any officer duly qualified to serve legal process within the State of Alabama or, if the nonresident defendant is found to be outside the State of Alabama, by a sheriff, deputy sheriff, or United States marshal or deputy United States marshal, or any duly constituted officer qualified to serve like process in the state or the jurisdiction where the nonresident defendant is found; and
(2) The officer's return showing such service, when made, shall be filed in the office of the clerk of the court, or in the court or tribunal wherein the action is pending, on or before the return day of the process or within such further times as the court or tribunal may allow, and the court or tribunal in which the action is pending may order such continuance, or continuances, as may be necessary to afford the nonresident defendant reasonable opportunity to defend the action.
(d) The commissioner shall keep on file for a period of not less than three years a copy of the summons and complaint or other process so served upon the commissioner, together with a record of all such process and of the day, hour, and manner of service.
(Acts 1957, No. 530, p. 726, §14; Acts 1971, No. 407, p. 707, §142; Acts 1988, No. 88-123, p. 159, §1; Act 2001-702, p. 1509, §5.)