(a) Only the Office of the General Counsel is authorized to receive and accept on behalf of the Department summonses or complaints sought to be served upon the Department, the Secretary, or Department employees. All such documents must be sent by registered or certified mail, to the appropriate address as indicated in appendix A to this subpart. The Office of the General Counsel may also in its discretion accept service of process in person or by registered or certified mail to other addresses, as announced on the DHS website as indicated in appendix A to this subpart. The authorization for receipt shall in no way affect the requirements of service elsewhere provided in applicable rules and regulations.
(b) In the event any summons or complaint described in § 5.41(a) is delivered to an employee of the Department other than in the manner specified in this part, the recipient thereof shall decline to accept the proffered service and may notify the person attempting to make service of the Departmental regulations set forth herein.
(c) Except as otherwise provided §§ 5.42(d) and 5.43(c), the Department is not an authorized agent for service of process with respect to civil litigation against Department employees purely in their personal, non-official capacity. Copies of summonses or complaints directed to Department employees in connection with legal proceedings arising out of the performance of official duties may, however, be served upon the Office of the General Counsel.
(d) Although the Department is not an agent for the service of process upon its employees with respect to purely personal, non-official litigation, the Department recognizes that its employees should not use their official positions to evade their personal obligations and will, therefore, counsel and encourage Department employees to accept service of process in appropriate cases.
(e) Documents for which the Office of the General Counsel accepts service in official capacity only shall be stamped “Service Accepted in Official Capacity Only”. Acceptance of service shall not constitute an admission or waiver with respect to jurisdiction, propriety of service, improper venue, or any other defense in law or equity available under applicable laws or rules.