Due Process

Business-Woman-281349Due Process – You’ve Been Served

According to the United States Constitution, no one should be “deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of the law.” The 14th Amendment exemplifies such rights obligating all states to honor the due process clause. The due process clause requires all state governments to operate within the bounds of the law and to provide fair procedures in administering them.

Under the procedural requirements of due process, a plaintiff of a pending lawsuit is legally required to provide the defendant with valid service of process. This means that state courts are restricted from exercising personal jurisdiction over a defendant unless they are provided with proper notice of the pending action asserted against them. Hence, defendants are entitled to their day in court and should be provided with a reasonable allocation of time to properly defend themselves in the event their life, liberty, or property is subject to deprivation.

To commence a lawsuit and change the legal position of parties, due process requires that proper notice be given. This is a fundamental proposition and failure to serve notice violates due process. Even actual notice of a lawsuit may not suffice if services of process requirements have not been met. Typically, this involves service by a sheriff, constable, marshal or other person duly appointed to serve process, who then makes a proper affidavit of service.

In order to properly render service of process, the plaintiff must serve on the defendant the court summons and a copy of the plaintiff’s complaint. Such documents are collectively called process.

Under California State law, a person who is 18-years-old or older, and not a part of the pending lawsuit, must provide the defendant with service of process. Service of process can be achieved by having the defendant personally served, or by mailing documents to their abode (this is permitted in limited situations), or using substituted service of process methods to leave the documents with someone in their dwelling who is older the 18.

At Direct Legal Support, Inc., we recommend plaintiffs hire registered process servers to ensure that the defendant is properly served. Failure to properly serve a defendant can result in a case being completely dismissed to the plaintiff’s disadvantage. Note, rules governing service of process vary by jurisdiction.

We invite you to contact Direct Legal Support, Inc. for your service of process needs. Our registered process servers can help you serve any party throughout California and the U.S. Call us at (213)483-4900 or email us for more information.

Sources

Due Process Requires Proper Service: Federal Rules of Civil Procedure

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