Has any doper ever been a process server?

I have a yard customer whose 17-year-old granddaughter, whom I’ll call Rhonda, has a dog whom a neighbor hit with her car a few weeks ago. The dog is recovering from the injury, but the grandmother had to pay over $1000 in vet bills. (The neighbor, whose grasp of English is a little shaky, didn’t seem to want to cooperate when the granddaughter and grandmother told her what she had done. And there is also an eyewitness–not me).
I am not a party to the incident, although I’ve known the grandmother, and her daughter, since several months before the daughter was born in 1985. So I am permitted by law to serve the Small Claims Court papers on the defendant, who lives down the street from Rhonda’s home. I have to do this by April 21.
I’m 6’2" and weigh well over 250 pounds, but that’s not the issue. I consider myself quite articulate and, of course, I have a legal background in my own right.
I’d just like to know if any of the Teeming Millions, especially in California, in civil cases, have been process servers; maybe I can gather some do’s and don’t this way. Thanks very much. :slight_smile:

I don’t know from California (different laws and you guys all carry guns and snort coke and worship dolphins or something), but I’ve done some process service here in the Great White North. Not a lot, but some.

If you’ve got a legal background you should be able to run over the essentials of service and make the affidavit out properly.

As far as actual technique, I used to go with “John Smith?” “Yes.” “This is for you”. By the time they got the paperwork unfolded and worked out what it was, I was already gone. It was good service under our particular rules, gave me all the information I needed, and avoided conflict.

You already know the Defendant’s home address, so finding him shouldn’t be too much of a hassle if you aren’t tied to a particular schedule either by your work situation or any local laws regarding time of service.

That’s with people who didn’t know (or believe) that they were going to be sued. Some folks see it coming and get very suspicious about strangers with papers. It may not be necessary to actually hand them to somebody as long as their attention is drawn to the fact that the papers are for them.

If you do wind up talking about it, most of the time it’s easy enough to convince them that you’re just doing your job, yatta yatta, you don’t know enough about the case to comment, like that.

99% of the time, in my experience, that’s how it works out. When it doesn’t work out that way is when it can get to be fun, but in cases like that it’s best to back up and call in somebody who does it for a living.

I hope that was of some help.

Just say “Candygram for <name here>,” then put your fingers in your ears and walk out while comical Looney Tunes music plays. It worked for Sheriff Bart.

I was a process server here in NYC for several years (before I gave up any claim to respectability and went to law school). If you can get face to face with the person you want to serve, you’ve overcome 95% of all hurdles. The tough part, in my experience, was always getting to the right person.

If you do get the person you want, say “I have some papers for you” and put them in the person’s hand. Don’t throw the papers at them, don’t put them in the mailbox, etc. Check California law on alternatives to personal service if you have trouble getting your guy. NY has “substitute service” and “nail and mail” service, but not in every type of case, and California is undoubtedly different in some significant ways.

My experience was that most people just take the papers and you walk away. When people would ask me what they were or what it was about, I would generally say “I don’t read them, I just deliver them.”

If you have specific questions about California law, go down to the courthouse and ask the clerk. They probably have a form of affidavit you can use. Also, alot of courthouses have a process-serving business somewhere on the premises or nearby. If you are fearful of violence or just don’t feel this is something you can do, hire someone to do it. If NY is any guide, it’s really not all that expensive as a rule.

I served the papers yesterday evening. Nobody batted an eye.

I would like to represent the defendant in this case. It would be an easy win. California, like many states, requires the plaintiff themselves to serve the papers for small claims cases. That should be enough to have the case dismissed. Plus the pet owner should be wholely liable in cases where a pet is hit by a car. Unless the defendant ran over the dog on purpose, I don’t see how he can be found liable for the vet bills.

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All good points, racer72, but not germane to the OP.

If appropriate, dougie_monty could start a separate thread (say, in IMHO) to discuss the merits of the case. But of course, he would then be relating more details of a legal case concerning his acquaintances, and he may not want to do that.

Anyhow, those issues deserve a separate thread.

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P.S. My previous post should not be taken to mean that I was trying to impersonate a moderator (anal or otherwise).

That’s prolly against the rules … and if so, please forgive me.