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View Full Version : Process Server Lingo - You've Been Served - What Else Does He Have To Say?



JulieHowe
11-06-2009, 08:10 AM
It's been so long since I worked in the legal profession that I can't remember the lingo. A process server has just handed my character legal papers. A relative, who is taking care of her children, has decided to sue for legal custody. Exactly what does the process server say when he hands her the legal papers? This is in California. I can't remember if 'You've been served' is an adequate explanation, or if the process server has to say 'You've been served by Jane Doe.'

Thanks!

Duncan J Macdonald
11-06-2009, 07:14 PM
It's been so long since I worked in the legal profession that I can't remember the lingo. A process server has just handed my character legal papers. A relative, who is taking care of her children, has decided to sue for legal custody. Exactly what does the process server say when he hands her the legal papers? This is in California. I can't remember if 'You've been served' is an adequate explanation, or if the process server has to say 'You've been served by Jane Doe.'

Thanks!

And here's the answer that you've been dreading ... it depends.

According to Section II, Rule 4 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (http://www.law.cornell.edu/rules/frcp/Rule4.htm),


(e) Serving an Individual Within a Judicial District of the United States. Unless federal law provides otherwise, an individual — other than a minor, an incompetent person, or a person whose waiver has been filed — may be served in a judicial district of the United States by:
(1) following state law for serving a summons in an action brought in courts of general jurisdiction in the state where the district court is located or where service is made; or
(2) doing any of the following:
(A) delivering a copy of the summons and of the complaint to the individual personally;
(B) leaving a copy of each at the individual’s dwelling or usual place of abode with someone of suitable age and discretion who resides there; or
(C) delivering a copy of each to an agent authorized by appointment or by law to receive service of process.


So, each State has different rules, but for the Feds, just handing them the summons is sufficient -- no specific words required.

Adam Israel
11-06-2009, 07:50 PM
The one and only time I was served, all the person did was knock at the door and ask for me by name. When I answered, he handed me the papers and walked away. Nothing fancy, no "you've been served", etc.

semilargeintestine
11-06-2009, 08:17 PM
AFAIK, you just have to physically accept the papers.

Kathie Freeman
11-07-2009, 09:29 PM
Doesn't have to say anything, just verify the identity, hand over the papers, and go. Also, contrary to popular opinion, the paper doesn't have to physically touch the servee, so it doesn't do any good to slam the door and shout obscenities.

JulieHowe
11-08-2009, 03:37 AM
Thanks to all!!

JulieHowe
11-08-2009, 03:38 AM
Doesn't have to say anything, just verify the identity, hand over the papers, and go. Also, contrary to popular opinion, the paper doesn't have to physically touch the servee, so it doesn't do any good to slam the door and shout obscenities.

This is definitely true. That's a weak plotline in many B-movies, when the hero/heroine is running from the process server.

semilargeintestine
11-08-2009, 09:15 AM
That's one thing I liked about American Gangster. When Crowe served the guy, he slid it through the door before the guy had a chance to slam the door on him. Of course, he then broke the door down. :D