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U.S. Marshals Service

Service of Process

Writ of Sequestration:     

A writ of sequestration is a prejudgment process which orders the seizure or attachment of property to be maintained in the custody of the U.S. Marshal or other designated official, under court order and supervision, until the court determines otherwise. The purpose of the writ is to preserve the named property pending outcome of the litigation.

Territorial Limits:  The writ is normally limited to execution within the state in which the district court is located unless extended by federal statute, rule or court order. 

Issued By:  Upon posting of an indemnity bond, the clerk of the U.S. District or Bankruptcy Court issues the writ, under seal, at the request of a party.

Served By: The writ is served by the U.S. Marshal or another person, presumably a law enforcement officer, specially appointed by the court in accordance with Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 4.1(a).

Manner of Service:The writ is served according to the instructions contained within it and in accordance with state law, which governs procedures for sequestration.  The requesting party may be required to provide an indemnity bond and an advance deposit to cover the U.S. Marshal's estimated out-of-pocket expenses.  The requesting party should accompany the U.S. Marshal in executing the writ so that he or she may answer any questions that may arise.   Generally, the U.S. Marshal will maintain custody of the seized property under court supervision. Alternatively, the requesting party may be named substitute custodian for the U.S. Marshal and maintain direct responsibility for custody of the seized property, either by court order or by written agreement with the U.S. Marshal. If the requesting party has arranged for moving or storage of the property, he or she must provide the U.S. Marshal with written proof that storage fees have been paid and that adequate insurance against loss or damage has been obtained, as evidenced by an insurance certificate. In addition, if the requesting party is named substitute custodian, he or she must provide the U.S. Marshal with a signed statement holding the U.S. Marshal harmless for any damages incurred as a result of the seizure while the property is in his or her custody.

Return:   The individual who effects service shall make proof of service by recording on the writ a description of the action taken pursuant to the instructions contained therein. The instructions may require an inventory to be made including the proper value of the property seized.  

Note:  The information related to the service of court process that is contained on this web site is general information and not intended to be an exhaustive or definitive explanation or depiction of Federal rules of procedures for the service of process.  Readers are directed to the Federal Rules of Criminal and Civil Procedure; personal legal counsel; the United States Code, Titles 18 and 28; their local U.S. Attorney's Office and District Court for specific, authoritative guidance. is an official site of the U.S. Federal Government, U.S. Department of Justice