What Are My Rights With a Court Processor?

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It's probably not going to be a good day for you if a court processor -- better known as a process server -- hands you a notice. The server must abide by state and federal law regarding the service process. While attorneys hire most process servers to notify people of lawsuits against them, other individuals can -- although some cannot -- legally serve papers. If you weren't served properly, you could have your case thrown out.

Your Rights

While you might not appreciate it when receiving papers, as a defendant, such service is part of your constitutional right to due process. Certain rights depend on your state's law regarding court processing. It's possible that the jurisdiction does not permit service during certain hours, on certain holidays, on Sundays or at certain locations. For example, a process server might not be able to hand you court papers while you're in church on a Sunday morning. However, your place of business, residence and public locations are generally fair game. If you believe that you were served improperly because of the time or location when or where you were served, contact your attorney. The server must serve you within a certain time frame, and fill out the proof-of-service form for the court, which is returned to the plaintiff's attorney for court filing. Anyone involved in your case is ineligible to serve you.

Personal Service

Personal service means that the process server must personally give you the papers. The server must identify you and give you the legal papers, informing you that you are considered served. Even if you don't accept them, you're still considered served for legal purposes.


About the Author

A graduate of New York University, Jane Meggitt writes regularly for various legal blogs. Her work has appeared in LegalZoom, USA Today and many other publications.

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  • Sean Gallup/Getty Images News/Getty Images