Sometimes companies that do business or cause harm in Tennessee have not registered to do business in Tennessee or have not appointed a registered agent in the state. If you want to sue them in a civil action (but not a worker’s compensation action), on whom to you serve the summons and complaint?
For “for profit” corporations, the answer is found in Tenn. Code Ann. Sec. 48-15-104 (b) :
Whenever a domestic or foreign corporation authorized to do business in this state fails to appoint or maintain a registered agent in this state, whenever its registered agent cannot be found with reasonable diligence, whenever a foreign corporation shall transact business or conduct affairs in this state without first procuring a certificate of authority to do so from the secretary of state, or whenever the certificate of authority of a foreign corporation shall have been withdrawn or revoked, then the secretary of state shall be an agent of such corporation upon whom any such process, notice or demand may be served. (Emphasis added.)