What if the Defendant is AVOIDING service?

What if the Defendant is AVOIDING service?

What do you do if the defendant is avoiding service? Unfortunately, a Process Server cannot force someone to open a door and in the State of California there is no consequence for avoiding service. But, do not fear, just because they are avoiding personal service does not mean they cannot be served. After required due diligence has been achieved, then the legal process opens up other "Manners of Service" that can be legally implemented. Unfortunately, the more effort needed to satisfy the notification requirements, the more expensive it becomes.

After the due diligence is satisfied, some documents can be Substitute Served, meaning they can be given to anyone over the age of 18 residing tne household. If no one will open the door then you may need to do a "Stake Out" and try to catch the defendant coming to or leaving the residence. Stake outs can be costly so it's best to do as much research about the person you're trying to serve as possible so that the Stake Out window can be condensed. Keep in mind, anyone can eventually be served, it just depends on how much money you have to accomplish the job.

After making the required attempts, a report or "declaration" can be prepared by the RPS to be given to the Judge presiding over the case. The Judge can then determine an alternative Manner of Service depending on the type of document such as "Publication" (CCP 415.50) or "Post and Mail" or basically any Manner of Service (CCP 413.30) the Judge feels will satisfy the notification requirements. Only a Judge can authorized (order) these Manners of Service. The Judge needs to determine that the defendant has had ample opportunity to be notified with normal due diligence. He does that based on the declaration prepared by the RPS. If the Judge decides that you haven't done enough to justify the alternative Manners of Service, you'll have to continue your efforts until the Judge is satisfied. 

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