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A Stakeout – From a Process Server’s Point of View

A process server is someone who is hired to deliver or ‘serve’ legal paperwork to an individual. These papers can be a notice of judgment, a notice of a suit brought against them, or a subpoena to appear in court.

In theory, this should be an easy job. The process server arrives at the named individual’s home and knocks on the door. In the dream world, the person answers, confirms their identity, the process server hands the person their legal paperwork, they shake hands, and both be on their way.

Wouldn’t that be nice?

In reality, most people don’t want to be served papers. The receiver can become irate, belligerent, and even physically abusive to the process server. This behavior never helps their court case, but it happens none the less.

Before the process server takes a job, they ask for all relevant information about the individual. Some info needed is a description or picture of the person, their address, place of work, and type of car the person drives. The more information they have, the easier it is to find the individual and serve the papers.

What Happens When a Person Does Not Want to be Served?

When a process server is looking for an individual that is rarely home, or not easily found, they may perform a ‘stakeout.’

A stakeout is the surveillance of a residential or commercial location in anticipation of the evasive individual to arrive, so the server can deliver the court documents. A stakeout can be a long and boring job, just sitting in the car watching for the person. The server cannot read a book, play on their phone, or any other distracting activity in case they miss the person they are looking to serve.

A stakeout may consist of hours of boredom interrupted by a few moments of a flurry of activity. It can be done to either learn the routine of the individual or serve the papers if the opportunity arises. In movies, the stakeout seems to last only a couple of minutes; but that’s because it would be too uneventful if the movie showed someone sitting in their car the entire 2 hours.

Once the person arrives, the process server must move quickly to intercept the individual, verify their identity, and hand them the paperwork.

But again, even a stakeout is not always easy.

Stake Out Stories

One process server was given information that the individual often visited his girlfriend during her work breaks. The server knew the guy’s name, description, and had a picture of the named individual. The server arrived early and waited for the subject to show up for the daily visit.

When the named individual appeared, the process server sauntered to the guy’s car and asked for directions. When he verified the subject’s name, the server dropped papers into the guy’s lap and told him he had just been served. The gentleman was not happy and proceeded to yell, deny who he was, and throw the papers back out the window. But it was too late; he had already been served.

Another time, the process server was waiting patiently for the subject to arrive. But when the named individual did show up, he showed up with a bat held comfortably in his hand.The process server calmly walked up to the guy, verified his identity, then dropped the papers at the individual’s feet and ran.

The defendant does not have to happily accept the documents for a process of service to be legal.

Let Us Handle the Process of Service

At One Source Process, our servers receive extensive background checks and training. We will quickly and efficiently deliver your documents, even if we have to perform a stakeout. All papers are sent out within 24 hours, or sooner if you request expedited service.

Fill out the online Order Form, tell us all information about the individual to be served and upload the forms to be served. It’s that easy. Let us handle the long hours of a stakeout and the irate individuals.

Apr 19, 2019 / by Brandon Yoshimura

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