Why Should I Hire a Professional Process Server?
I hear it all the time around the Court House.. I will just get my friend to serve this for me ..Why Should I hire a Professional Process Server and pay an extra fee I don't have to? After all, State law says anyone who is over 18, not a felon, and not a party to the case can serve my papers.. a friend will do it for free. Well my answer to this question always starts with the response.. " Well do you know what comes next?", usually there is silence.
Serving any kind of Court Document should be done by a professional. Why? Well aside from the nuances that a Professional Process Server uses to locate a potential Servee, we know what comes next. We also know there is a little more to it than what the law states.
Even before a Service of Process is perfected, a good Process Server has scoped out their Servee and has formulated several scenarios that Service can be effected legally and safely. By failing to effect a good Service of Process could cost you extra money later, but worse delay your court proceedings, and even worse than that project you in a bad light to the Court. For example, a client who went the route of a "Friend Service" ended up having to start costly eviction proceedings all over again because said friend didn't know that three attempts BEFORE posting the Eviction Notice were required. It cost that client another 6 weeks in lost revenue from her rental and additional court fees and document re-issuance because the legal eviction process had to start all over again. Another recent client nearly lost their small business because they " hired a friend". In trying to save money, my client had hired her brother in law to serve small claims cases in the next county over. Bad Debt warrants are governed not only by State Laws, but Federal Laws as well. Because the Servee's privacy wasn't maintained and they knew their rights, those services were thrown out. THIS IS BAD because in Tennessee and a lot of other jurisdictions, a case can only be served once. Had that client just paid a Professional Server their rate or around $50-100 per paper.. she wouldn't have lost over $3,000. Aside from being costly, failure to Serve properly can cast you in a bad light with the Court.. or worse get you in criminal legal trouble as well.
Recently, a colleague in California, Bryant Tuck of Quality Process in San Diego was witness to such a " Bad Service".
As seen in Bryant's video, choosing a " Free Friend" to serve someone in a Parking Garage shows exactly why one needs to hire a Professional.. Today, I will dissect the video and explain all of the reasons this at the very least is a "Dangerous Serve" and in some jurisdictions a " Bad Serve" and exactly why you should hire a Professional Server. In Bryant's video https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=239614893665225&id=100028501493967 we see a Servee have access to their vehicle and a Server not having an "Escape Plan". A Serve like this is not just ill advised, but in this case the "free friend" could have been run over, or worse, wounded if the Servee had access to a weapon inside their vehicle. Revenge Service .. while we at Smoky Mountain Process and Legal Services always accommodate our clients wishes, engaging in a confrontational situation where a client is present so they can see the " reaction " of the opposing party only serves to inflame contentious situations such as a Divorce or Child Custody Proceeding. Clearly, the Plaintiff seeing the Defendant's reaction was what was on their mind. As you can see, the confrontation was pretty nasty, and thankfully for all involved no one was hurt but the result could have been very different and tragic. 3) Depending on your state, the Service in this video may not be considered by the Court as a good service. While in many jurisdictions, a Server can throw documents at or at the feet of the intended recipient as we see the "Free Friend" do in the video, also known as a "Drop Serve", such means of Process Service is illegal in Tennessee. 4) Utilizing a friend and the Plaintiff or Complainant being present in this situation presents the situation of "feelings and animocity" get in the way of Process. A Professional Process Server is there to serve the documents and let the receiver know they have business before the court. That's it. By continuing to engage an already angry recipient as I previously stated, not only put the "Free Friend Server" in danger, but also the Plaintiff, and any other bystander in the Parking Garage in danger of being hurt or run over. In some jurisdictions, because the " Free Friend Server" got in the way of the Defendant and his vehicle, charges such as "Unlawful Restraint or Detainment" by blocking the Servee's vehicle. Finally, many lay people wouldn't know that a Return of Service along with what is called an "Affidavit of Service" must be properly filled out and filed with the Court.
An " Affidavit of Service " is usually a sworn statement that documents who was served, and their description along with what was served and the circumstances under which it was served including location and why the Service was perfected in a certain location.. absence of this filing showing the Service had been executed as prescribed by State Law can again cost you money and cost you your case.. Call a Professional.. and if you're in East Tennessee call Smoky Mountain Process and Legal Services.. (865)347-7967. Chris Wilkinson is a Court Approved Process Server in Knox County and the owner of Smoky Mountain Process and Legal Services. She lives with her partner and 2 dogs in Knoxville.