How to Effectively Render Service of Process on a Corporation in California

Process-Serving-2-Kern-Legal-Home-PageIn California, when you sue a corporation, you must personally serve the court documents of the pending action upon the corporation.  This is known as service of process.

There are three main ways to effectuate service of process on a California corporation: 1) The court summons and complaint can be served to the designated agent, and/or authorized corporate officer for service of process; 2) The court summons and complaint may be sent through certified mail to the corporation; or 3) The court summons and complaint may be served by substituted service of process through the California Secretary of State’s office. Read below on how to effectively render service of process on a corporation.


Service of Process on Designated Corporate Agent or Authorized Officer

According to section 416.10 of the California Code of Civil Procedure (CCCP), a court summons may be served on a corporation by delivering a copy of the summons and the complaint by any of the following methods:

  1. To the person designated as agent for service of process; or
  2. To the corporation’s president, chief executive officer, or a person authorized by the corporation to receive service of process.

You can find out the name of the corporation’s agent for service on the California Secretary of State website.  You may utilize the traditional means of service upon the corporation’s registered agent.

Service of Process by Certified Mail

If you are unable to effectuate service of process upon a corporation by personal service, you may alternatively serve the corporation by certified mail according to CCCP section 415.30:

A summons may be served by mail as provided in this section. A copy of the summons and of the complaint shall be mailed by first-class mail or airmail to the person to be served, together with two copies of the notice and acknowledgment provided for in subdivision (b) and a return envelope, postage prepaid, addressed to the sender.

California Secretary of State Substituted Service of Process on Corporations

Substituted service of process on a corporation may be rendered by serving the California Secretary of State’s office if the following has occurred:

  1. Attempts at direct service of process are unsuccessful;
  2. Attempts at direct service of process have been proven to the court to be reasonable and diligent; and
  3. The court issues an order which states that service can be made upon the corporation by hand delivering the summons and the complaint to the Secretary of State’s office in Sacramento as a substituted service of process upon the corporation.

The following documents will have to be served upon the Secretary of State’s office:

  1. A copy of the process (the summons and complaint); and
  2. A copy of the court order permitting the service; and
  3. The statutory $50.00 fee.

The above documents and fee must be hand delivered to the public counter in Sacramento in order to effectively render substituted service of process.

Because of our depth of experience, you should choose Direct Legal Support, Inc. to handle all of your service of process needs. Direct Legal Support, Inc. will serve any paper or any legal document anywhere in the United States.  We have registered process servers ready to assist you.


California Service of Process