I've received a Notice of Attempted Service via letter or text. What's going on?
We have reached out to you to arrange for Service of Process. Having a service of process means we have a court filing to deliver to you. It could be a summons, a complaint, a restraining order, or a subpoena to be a witness in a civil court case. In other words, it's not a criminal matter.
What should you do next?
Contact us via phone, text or email to schedule a time and place to be given your documents. We'll be as flexible and discreet as we can to meet your needs. If the process of service is not for you please just call, text, or email the contact info on the notice of attempted service to let us know. We will go back to the court or attorney and let them know we need a new address. If you do not inform us, you can expect to hear from us fairly consistently until we do communicate.
When serving court documents, our server has to place the documents directly into the hands of the subject of the filing or their representative. This is called "Personal Service". This is the primary and most verifiable method to ensure you have the documents.
What else should you know?
1. The Process Server has the right to be on your property. They are not trespassing. The server is acting on behalf of the court that issued the documents, and your address is listed on the documents or associated with the person whose name appears on the documents.
2. You CANNOT refuse Service of Process. Being sure you are served court documents is a staple (the very bedrock) of our civil judicial system. It means you cannot be sued without you knowing about it for certain.
If you refuse to cooperate with the simple act of accepting the documents during an in-person service attempt, the server can drop the papers at your feet-- and you'll be considered "personally served." Attempting to refuse service will be reported to the court. This means you'll be held responsible for abiding by the demands the court made of you in the filing whether you pick it up or not. So, it's probably best to pick them up.
3. Should I evade service (not respond to letters, texts, in-person attempts), or just tell the Process Server that my friend or loved one isn't at home (when they actually are)? No. Failing to cooperate with the service of process (depending on your case/circumstance) could be in violation of:
TCA 39-16-602 Obstruction of Justice-- in the service or legal writ or process.
(c) It is an offense for a person to intentionally prevent or obstruct an officer of the state or any other person known to be a civil process server in serving, or attempting to serve or execute, any legal writ or process.
You could potentially be charged with a Class B misdemeanor (carries up to 6 months in jail, $500 fine). Again, this is highly contextual to the documents you are being served and why you're being served.
4. Why is it such a big deal to evade service?
It's not just a matter of courtesy. A lack of cooperation/response costs more money for everyone involved-- a cost that could be included in a judgment against you. The entire court proceeding cannot move forward until it is proven you have been served, or there have been earnest attempts to serve you which were actively evaded. Most courts frown upon evading service, at the very least.
It should be noted that Expedite has a 100% judgment rate from the courts in favor of the Plaintiff when it comes to extra costs being run-up by active evaders. We are documenting and recording every attempt, text, phone call, and encounter.
5. Does the process server have the right to record the encounter? Yes-- and so do you.
Federal law (18 U.S.C. § 2511) requires one-party consent, which means you can record a phone call or conversation so long as you are a party to the conversation.
Exceptions do exist in the United States, but not in Tennessee. Just like you may have a doorbell camera or security cameras, our servers have body cameras. This is being done to protect everyone involved-- including you.
6. Does the process server know details of your case? Absolutely not. Process servers are not enforcers. We are literally messengers. Expedite has no opinion on your case. Our job ends the moment you've had the documents placed in your hands. We are only interested in making sure you can effectively respond to the filing (i.e.- plead your case in court, hire a lawyer, etc.).
7. Why can't you just mail it? Service of process must be proven. What if the filing has your incorrect address? What if you decide to ignore a piece of mail from a sender you don't recognize? All of these possibilities lower the chance that you can be successfully and verifiably served.
8. If the serve is a detainer warrant, we can post it on your door after the third attempt.
Process Servers are like the UPS of our Justice System-- we are the most efficient and verifiable way of making sure you have what you need in your case.
Sources for your own reference (numbered by hyperlink)
This entire section is for reference only. This is not legal advice. If you need legal advice, you should consult with a lawyer.