Working on a long-term project to modernize and further professionalize the process serving profession in Arizona, RapidRPS worked with the Board of Directors of the Arizona Process Servers Association to write proposed rule changes to further define, clarify and improve the rules for service of process. Under Rule 28 of the Rules of the Supreme Court of Arizona, RapidRPS and APSA diligently worked together to construct and submit proposed rule changes for the betterment of the public, courts, litigants, attorneys and process servers.
Arizona, like other states and the Federal courts utilize a varied and somewhat complicated system of rules for moving litigation forward. Under the Rules of the Supreme Court of Arizona, Rule 28 allows any interested party to submit proposed changes to the rules not only for service of process, but for other procedural issues, as well. Rule 28 requires that there be a public comment period on proposed rule changes not requiring immediate effect. Barring any revisions, the proposed rule changes, if approved, could take effect as early as January, 2013.
Here are the highlights of the proposed rule changes:
ARCP Rule 4.1:
Requires service of legal process that is punishable by contempt of court or a civil arrest warrant to be personally served. "Any order of the court in such pleading which may result in the issuance of a civil arrest warrant, as defined in ARCP Rule 64.1(a) or a finding of contempt must be personally served upon the individual, or, in the alternative, served by an order of the court in accordance with ARCP Rule 4.1(m)" .
Defines the age by which a person is presumed to be of “suitable age and discretion” to be defined as “a member of the household or a person apparently in charge therein, who stated or appeared that he or she was at least 15 years of age at the time of service…”.
Allows for service at an HOA or planned community. While other states have varied allowances and statutory requirements for service at guard gated communities, we are proposing to be allowed to serve at the HOA or planned community “…If after having identified himself or herself to the guard as a Process Server, Constable or Deputy Sheriff having lawful business in serving legal process upon a person reasonably believed to be residing or located in such planned community or other such location, and entry to such planned community or other such location is denied, service of a copy of the summons, pleading and other documents being served may be performed by leaving a copy of the legal process with the guard, who shall be informed of the general nature of the legal process, and thereafter mailing a copy of the legal process by first-class mail, postage prepaid thereon to the person served at the individual's dwelling house or usual place of abode. Service of legal process in this manner is deemed complete on the 3rd day after the mailing.”
Allows for substituted service at a business or place of mailing. Many times, Process Servers, Constables and Deputy Sheriffs are prevented from serving legal process at a person’s place of employment or mailing (i.e.: a UPS Store, etc.). The proposed new subsection to rule 4.1 states that service should be allowed by, “Leaving a copy of the summons, pleading and other documents being served at that individual's usual place of business, or usual mailing address other than a United States Postal Service post office box, in the presence of a person apparently in charge therein, who shall be informed of the general nature of the legal process and thereafter mailing a copy of the legal process by first-class mail, postage prepaid thereon to the person served at the location where service was made. Service of legal process in this manner is deemed complete on the 3rd day after the mailing.“
Similar, supporting changes are also proposed for ARCP Rule 5(c) and Rules of Family Law Procedure Rule 41(c) and RFLP Rule 43(c), as well. While at the time of this writing, the proposed rule changes have not yet been posted to the Supreme Court’s website, we expect that to happen, soon. RapidRPS will post updates as they become available.