At first glance process service seems an easy part of the litigation process. Few are the ones who understand the importance of the service of process requirement to the outcome of a lawsuit. Proper service on a party and a correct affidavit of service filed with the court ensure that the parties to the action have been notified as prescribed by the court system. Failure to complete this process may result in a delay, breach of duty or termination of an otherwise successful trial.
Going back to basics, delivering legal papers is called service of process. The law says that legal papers have to be delivered the right way. Every adult and organization listed in the case must be served with its own set of papers. If legal papers are not served the right way when a case is started, the Judge may make the party starting the case start all over again. This is called a dismissal without prejudice. There are three general ways to deliver legal papers to start a case.
1. Personal delivery. The papers are handed to the defendant or respondent. Papers can be handed to the other side anywhere. Papers cannot be served on Sundays. The attempt to serve the papers should not be made on religious observance days. If the server cannot find the other side in person, there are rules for the other ways to serve papers.
2. Substituted delivery. Papers are left with someone else to give to the defendant or respondent and copies of the papers are mailed.
3. Conspicuous delivery. If personal or substituted delivery cannot be done, papers are left in a place where they are likely to be found and copies of the papers are mailed.
After papers are delivered to the other side, proof of this has to be given to the court. This is done by Filing an Affidavit of Service.
If legal papers are not delivered the way the law says the papers may not count. For example, the Court may not read opposition papers to a motion if the papers were not served. If papers starting a case are not delivered the right way, the defendant or respondent can tell this to the Court in the Answer or on the court date. This is a defense to the case. The defendant or respondent can ask the Court to dismiss the case for bad service. If the Judge decides that the service is bad, the case is over, and the plaintiff or petitioner must start the case all over again.
Every case is different and the requirements for service of process vary by type of case, filing court as well as state. Here are some examples of process service mistakes:
At Associated Services we are equipped with the knowledge and more than 30 years of experience to handle your legal papers the right way. Whatever your case, court and state, we will help you serve your documents right the first time. Our legal analysts will review the service and ensure that the affidavit of service is duly signed, filed and executed. All our service of process is certified which guarantees that this one step of the litigation process is indeed as easy as it may seem. Let Associated Services help you - give us a Call Today!
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