Process servers have a difficult job. Sometimes it is a challenge just to find the defendant, but when the server successfully tracks down the named individual, some people become extremely agitated by this situation. When serving papers, the receiver may yell obscenities at the server, threaten with bodily harm, and actually do bodily harm.
It is common that the defendant will flat-out refuse to accept the court papers, either by actively avoiding the process server (think sneaking out the back door while the server is at the front door), or being face to face with the server and refusing to take the papers.
Because refusal of accepting served papers is a common practice, the courts often recognize legal documents that have been Drop Served. Since you can’t force an individual to receive the paperwork, Drop Service (or Service by Refusal) occurs when a process server places, or ‘drops,’ the legal documents near the defendant.
Drop Service is used after several failed attempts of the defendant accepting the court papers. There have been instances when the process server physically drops the paperwork at the defendant’s feet after the server identifies himself and why he is there.
Experienced and savvy process servers know to either take pictures of the defendant with the papers in their vicinity or use video to confirm the individual was actively refusing service to prove that Drop Service was necessary.
In one case (In re Ball (2nd Dist. 1934) 2 Cal.App.2d 578), the process server was within a couple of feet of the defendant. When the server identified himself, the individual verbally refused to take the paperwork and began to walk away. While he was still looking at the server, the server tossed the papers on the ground between the two of them and told the individual ‘you have just been served.’ They both departed, with the defendant not picking up the papers.
The defendant fought his case in court, saying that he was not served his legal paperwork. The court ruled that the individual was legally served because he was fully aware of the situation.
Another intriguing case is Trujillo v Trujillo (3rd Dist. 1945) 71 Cal.App.2d 257. The server approached the named individual who was in his vehicle with the window open. The server identified himself and attempted to hand the legal documents through the open window. The defendant rolled up his window and refused the papers. The process server placed the paperwork under the individual’s windshield wipers. The courts ruled this was a proper way to serve the individual since he was fully aware of what the papers included.
A separate, fun story is when a process server (who had attempted to serve papers at least 5 times) was attempting to make contact with a named individual in late October one year. The defendant continuously refused to answer the door, even though the server saw the person enter the house. Finally, the server had an idea; he waited until Halloween evening and intermingled with the kids who were going door to door to trick-or-treat. The server rang the doorbell, and the named party answered. The defendant was successfully served papers.
Let Us be Your Process Server
When hiring a process server, you need to be sure the papers will be served promptly and according to the law. Our tenacious servers complete a rigorous training to make sure your court documents reach the correct individual.
Our process servers will successfully find and serve the named individual. You can fill out the Order Form to begin the process. Just tell us all the pertinent information and upload the court papers. Your documents will be out for service within 24 hours; or you can choose to expedite this and have papers sent out for service the same day.
Don’t let a slow process server delay your court case. Contact Us today to start the process of successfully serving your papers.