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3 Surprising Rules that Process Servers Have to Follow

While it is entertaining to think about process servers running around in disguises, delivering a pizza box full of court paperwork to unsuspecting defendants who then explode in rage, this is just not reality. In the real world, private process servers are professionals in the legal industry who must adhere to laws, regulations, and ethical principles. In this post, we’ll go over 3 rules that process servers must follow that might surprise you:

Using a private process server for in-person service must be approved by a judge before said service is attempted

There’s some controversy about this one, but if you read Rule 4 of North Carolina’s Rules of Civil Procedure, it states that civil process should be served by the sheriff of the county where the service is to be made, or some other person duly authorized by NC law. Now, you may be thinking that a private process server would be someone duly authorized by law to serve process in NC, but that’s not the case, as evidenced by the rulings in Locklear, 822 S.E.2d at 593 in the NC Court of Appeals. This is because there is no approval, certification, or registration process for private process servers in North Carolina, so they are not authorized by law to do anything, technically. The only time a private process server may be used to serve process in a civil case is if the local sheriff is unavailable, unwilling, or neglects to effect service. This doesn’t mean that if the sheriff misses a deadline that a process server can just step in and take over. An affidavit explaining the need for a private process server must be filed and reviewed by a judge, who will then decide if the requirements to use a private process server have been met. If approved, the plaintiff may use anyone who meets NC’s minimum standards for a process server to serve the process in their case. Continue reading

Do You Have to Go to Court if You Haven’t Been Served?

Going to court is no fun, even if you’re the one that filed the lawsuit. We can definitely understand why people would want to avoid having to appear in court if at all possible, however, sometimes it is unavoidable. When a lawsuit is filed against you or your business, you will have to make an appearance in court after being properly served with a Summons and Complaint.

Some people go to great lengths to never receive these documents, also known as the court process. They usually do this because they believe if they are never served the process, then they don’t have to show up to court.

No, if you have never been properly served with the process for a court case in which you are named as a defendant or witness, then you DO NOT have to go to court.

BUT…

The catch is the properly served part. The chances of you going unserved in a court case filed against you are slim (unless the plaintiff just doesn’t serve you before the deadline). That’s because there are several different methods in which you may be served in North Carolina, not just face-to-face. Let’s talk about the 4 main ways people are served court process here in NC: Continue reading

Why Process Servers Essential in the Legal Process

Process servers usually work behind the scenes, getting important paperwork where it needs to go without making a big fuss. You probably don’t even realize how essential process servers are to the entire flow of the legal system in our local, state, federal, and even international courts. But how? In this post, we’ll talk about exactly why professional process servers are so vital.

Process Servers Uphold Constitutional Rights

Many people do not realize that being served with a process is their constitutional right. It’s all about due process, which is guaranteed to U.S. citizens and some others in the 5th and 14th amendments of the U.S. Constitution. Due process means that defendants and witnesses are given adequate notice of any court proceedings against them, allowing them enough time to prepare their defense or testimony. Continue reading

What May Happen if You Avoid a Process Server

If you know that a process server is searching for you because someone has filed a lawsuit against you, you may be tempted to try to avoid the process server to delay the case. Hollywood does a good job of making this seem like a feasible tactic. However, this never works out in real life. No matter how much effort you put into avoiding the process server, they will eventually serve you with those court documents, even if you never see them in person. Once you’re considered “served” in the eyes of the law, even if by alternative service, the case against you can legally proceed.

Just a few of the possible consequences of avoiding a process server include: Continue reading