December 12th, 2009 | Published in Uncategorized
A lawsuit doesn’t officially start against you until you’ve been “served.” This means that you have been given a copy of the complaint (the document explaining why you’re being sued in an official way. For most law suits, someone must first try to give you a copy of the complaint personally. This is called personal service.
Personal service is required because the legal system wants to make sure that a defendant in a lawsuit knows about the lawsuit and has a chance to defend his or herself. Usually, personal service has to be done by a person over 18 who is not involved in the lawsuit. A process server is a person who delivers complaints as a job.
Being served personally does not mean that the person being sued has to accept the complaint directly from the process server. If this was the only way a lawsuit could start, people might be able to duck the lawsuit by ducking the process server. Hiding from the process server may delay the the start, but it won’t stop it.
If the process server tries but can’t find you, then the plaintiff can ask the judge to serve you in a different way — for example, by publishing notice of the lawsuit in a newspaper, posting the complaint at your last known address.
So the bottom line is, you can delay the start of a lawsuit by avoiding the process server, but you can’t stop the suit by hiding from the server.