by RapidRPS.com staff
As part of an ongoing series, RapidRPS.com presents several subjects of interest to our clients and other professionals. Remember, we don't render legal advice; if you need legal advice, please consult your own counsel.
If I give you the papers in a sealed envelope, can you serve them? The quick answer is "No"; however, let us explain why: When a sealed envelope is given to someone, what are they seeing? They are seeing an enclosure covering what's inside. They don't see any documents inside the envelope. However, when your legal documents served are in plain sight, nobody can deny that they are "Legal Process" -- that term coined some time ago to describe legal papers being served.
Process Servers serve "Legal Process"; the postal carrier and Fedex deliver sealed envelopes. The Legal Process documents we serve are plainly visible, giving notice to the person served that they are served with important court documents, rather than just sheets of paper in an envelope.
I've seen other process servers list all the defendants on the same proof of service. Why do you submit one proof of service for each party served? First, because it's the professional thing to do -- we don't like sloppy. At RapidRPS.com, we like to give a professional finished product. Our Proof of Service is the written record of our efforts. Although we may serve multiple defendants at the same time, each service is individual, has an individual fee associated with it, and is due its own documentation. Further, each matter against a defendant or other adverse party served may be bifurcated (separated) and examined in its own right; the Proof of Service should stand as to the party served, not the group of parties served.
Why do you list all of the documents on the Proof of Service? Keeping an accurate record of what documents we serve makes RapidRPS.com different from the other guys. Often, we'll receive legal process with instructions to serve the "Garnishment Package" or "Summons & Complaint, etc." without detailing the title of each document to serve. While we understand that documents prepared in bulk by clerical staff are sometimes bundled together, the documents we need to let the court know we served are detailed not only for the benefit of our clients, but for our protection, as well. After acceptance of your papers, we will confirm with you the documents to serve.
Do you have to notarize each proof of service? ARCP Rule 80(i) indicates that a document signed under penalty of perjury does not have to necessarily be sworn (a notarized affidavit). A process server, who is an Officer of the Court, signs his/her documents under penalty of perjury. Here's the Rule:
Rule 80(i). Unsworn Declarations Under Penalty of Perjury
Wherever, under any of these rules, or under any rule, regulation, order, or requirement made pursuant to these rules, any matter is required or permitted to be supported, evidenced, established, or proved by the sworn written declaration, verification, certificate, statement, oath, or affidavit of the person making the same (other than a deposition, or an oath of office, or an oath required to be taken before a specified official other than a notary public), such matter may, with like force and effect, be supported, evidenced, established, or proved by the unsworn written declaration, certificate, verification, or statement, subscribed by such person as true under penalty of perjury, and dated, in substantially the following form:
"I declare (or certify, verify or state) under penalty of perjury that the foregoing is true and correct. Executed on (date).