So, I am suinga national cell-phone company in small claims in California. The court date was today. I showed up and was gleefully to surprised they did not show up. “Aha! A default judgment! Just hope the judge thinks I have a decent case.” During roll call the clerk said my summons was not properly served.
I figured this could not be. I grabbed their agent for service’s address from the CA Secretary of State’s website, paid the court an additional $10 to send a certified summons, and even got a call from the company I sued offering to settle.
So the judge tossed me out, said I could ask for the hearing to be reset, and have the company properly served in the meantime. She noted that my statement that I had received a settlement offer, even had it on voice mail, but since the green return receipt card was not in the case folder she could not certify proper service.
I went to the clerk’s office to investigate and found that they had indeed mailed ut the summons, but did not receive anything back from the USPS.
I was under the impression that as soon as the clerk dropped the notice addressed to the company’s agent for service agent for service that “service” had been completed, but it’s become quite evident to me that I’m not correct in this understanding.
I also got the article number from the Post Office, which upon checking on their website indicates notice was delivered two days after it was mailed. So it would appear I will be able to produce proof of service, and theoretically should get my time in front of the judge without the other party having any opporunity to present their case since they did not show up today-- correct?
Also, what’s the Straight Dope on using post office boxes for service? The clerk told me that PO boxes were generally frowned upon as valid addresses for service-- yet every major corporation I’ve looked up so far is using a PO box, and it would seem to me that the Secretary of State has a responsibility to ensure that whatever addresses are being supplied by these companies will be acceptable to courts across the state. Am I off-base on that?