CALIFORNIA EVIDENCE CODE SECTION 647
A key part of filing a lawsuit is the requirement to give notice to the party being sued and bring that defendant under the jurisdiction of the court. This is called “service of process.” It includes not only delivering the initial documents – the summons and the complaint – to that defendant but also filing a “proof of service” with the court.
There are complex laws and rules governing the service of the documents as well as the preparation and filing of the proof of service. If the person serving process makes a mistake or does not follow each and every step as required by law, the service will be defective and invalid. Fixing this problem can be costly and time-consuming, and could result in the loss of the plaintiff’s right to proceed at all with the lawsuit.
Generally, the person performing these duties must be at least 18 years of age and not a party to the proceedings. But the plaintiff otherwise can choose who will serve process, and that person can be any adult other than himself or herself -- a friend or relative, business associate, or a staff member of the plaintiff’s attorney.
Registered Process Server
There are many good reasons, though, to choose a registered process server to perform this vital part of the lawsuit process.
First, a knowledgeable, experienced registered process server is thoroughly familiar with the laws and is trained to serve process correctly and quickly. The modest cost is well worth this benefit alone.
Second, a registered process server and the client (the plaintiff and/or the plaintiff’s lawyer) enjoy an important legal advantage if the defendant mounts a challenge to service of process. California Evidence Code (“EC”) section 647 creates a legal presumption that the facts stated in a proof of service filed by a registered process server are true and that the service of process is valid.
What this means is that, in the court proceedings to determine the legality of either service of process or the proof of service – or both -- the proof of service of the registered process server is presumed valid and correct, and the burden shifts entirely to the defendant to overcome that legal presumption with admissible evidence.
This evidentiary presumption is not available when a private person serves process. In that case, the parties come into court on an equal footing. The plaintiff loses the significant advantage of EC section 647; the defendant will have a much easier task of successfully challenging service of process.
For these reasons – and many others, 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.