Thursday, April 02, 2009

"Bullet Proof" Service of Process

FYI...we are licensed investigators that specialize in the service of process. You can visit our web site at RASCAL for more information.

We stick to our little corner of the industry, specializing in the location of witnesses and defendants for service of process, defendant validation, doing some preliminary pre-judgment asset searches, and post-judgment collection investigations. We also work for clients who are looking to set aside a judgment based on what might be an improper service.

A Judgment Enforcement Specialist sent a Judgment Creditor (JC) to us as an Investigative Client in order to locate a new service address for post judgment collection and to find some assets, if possible.

We always go back to the very beginning and check each step of the case to make sure that it was done properly. The initial action and the manner of service is the foundation upon which everything that follows is built.

First off, the original proofs of service on this Small Claims action looked odd - both the business entity, an LLC, AND the named individual, who is also the manager of the LLC, were personally served at the LLC's Registered agents PERSONAL residence.

Second, the serve was made by an unregistered kid of 18 who was a trainee with another service company for a short time. They pulled their records and found that the named individual had actually been sub-served to the agent at the agent's residence address. They are going to file an amended proof of service even though the judgment was entered about six months ago. Definitely not compliant with California's CCP 415.10 or 415.20b regarding where service can be made. There is NO connection between the individual/manager and the agent's place of residence.

It gets worse.

The court issued both an abstract and a writ naming the individual/manager and the agent for service both as individuals only. The County recorder has recorded that Abstract. The credit bureaus will pick up that recording as a "judgment lien" on both individuals' credit reports.

Bottom line - the court never should have issued the Abstract if it didn't match the judgment, but they did. And now it's recorded. The first guy was never properly served; the second guy was only the agent for service for the first guy's LLC and not a defendant at all.

The court lady is in shock at the moment, and she's going to see how to un-snaggle or partially correct this mess as far as the court goes. The Plaintiff/JC may have to motion the court to actually set aside his 6 month old default judgment on at least one of the defendants. Meanwhile, Mom suggested the Plaintiff/Creditor contact an attorney for advice as to how to keep from getting sued in the event anyone's credit is damaged by the abstract on record, or either of the individuals suffer any losses because of it. She's also suggested that he not pursue any collection until he can straighten out the initial action, unless his attorney advises otherwise.

The LEAST expensive process server could be the MOST expensive, in the long run.

We serve process anywhere, and we stand by our work. It just makes me everly so mad when someone calls regarding price only, that I just want to bark. A professional process server works WITH you, and sticks by you for the long haul. Hmmmph!

Rant over. Going back to nap practice.

Professionally yours,

Mary-Margaret O'Brien

PS: Our website is at RASCAL if you want to visit us.

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