When do I need a Process Server?
Service of process is an infrequent but crucial component to litigation as throughout the progression of any given case, there are a handful of instances where physical service is required. For starters, physical service of process is mandated immediately following the commencement of an action. Additionally, certain other documents such as TROs, Subpoenas, and Orders to Show Cause may also require physical service concurrent with their filing.
What are the Requirements for a Successful Service of Process?
When attempting service on an individual, you are required to make three different attempts at different times (morning, afternoon, and evening) and different days. After three attempts have been made, your server can subserve the documents by leaving them in the possession of anyone over the age of 18 provided there is a reasonable expectation that they will deliver the documents on your behalf (co-habitant, relative, coworker).
Serving a business can be significantly easier. If you are unable to serve a C level executive or the agent for service of process directly, anyone authorized to accept service at the business’ address can be sub-served on the first attempt.
What if Service is Un-Successful?
There is no guarantee that a physical service of process will be successful. Occasionally, people will dodge service and / or the address provided will be incorrect. If the is the case, there are still options available to you. First and foremost, you must provide a signed declaration of due diligence with the court indicating your unsuccessful attempts.
Once you have done so, you can attempt to locate the party you are trying to serve via skip trace. If you are positive the address is correct, you can stakeout the location and make more attempts to catch the party avoiding service. As always, subservice is an acceptable alternative in these instances provided you attempt personal service three times first.
How Should I Choose a Process Server?
While anyone over the age of 18 who is uninvolved with the case in question is legally allowed to act as a process server, there are distinct upsides to using an attorney service provider for your service of process. For starters, experienced servers are practiced in circumventing attempts to dodge service and offer a better chance of successful service within the first three attempts. Additionally, most attorney support providers offer stakeouts and skip traces in addition to service of process. Lastly, attorney service providers create and fill out the proofs of service on your behalf, reducing the risk that your proofs are rejected by the court.
Improper service can cause delays and potentially risk the dismissal of your case. If you have any questions about choosing a process service or the guidelines themselves, feel free to reach out to us at (310) 574-2282 or firstname.lastname@example.org and we will be happy to answer them.