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Should you Dodge the Process Server ?

Almost everyone has heard the old adage “if they can’t find you, they can’t sue you” sometime in their life. Unfortunately, in civil cases, they do not need to find you and they can surely sue you. The plaintiff cannot only sue you, he or she can obtain a judgment against you without you even defending yourself.Generally speaking, it is true that a plaintiff in a case only has a certain amount of time to serve the summons and complaint on the defendant. In Arizona, a plaintiff has 120 days after filing a lawsuit to serve the defendant.  Typically the plaintiff will hire a registered process server and the process server will be able to locate the person, ask the defendant if he or she is the person named in the lawsuit, and tell the person what every past defendant gavelhates to hear, “you have been served.”

If for some reason the defendant cannot be located, the Arizona Rules of Civil Procedure has provided what is called, “Alternative Service”. Examples of alternative service may include certified mail, publication in the local newspaper and if the defendant is a business, through the Arizona Corporation Commission.  If the process server provides an affidavit stating that numerous attempts to serve the defendant were made to no avail, and alternative service was the most reasonable remaining method, the court will likely consider the defendant served.

If you know someone is suing you and is attempting to have you served, you should probably not dodge the process server. Even if the defendant thinks he will lose and has no case, at least the defendant will have the opportunity to defend him or herself against the allegations. If the defendant chooses to dodge the process server, it is very likely the plaintiff will use an alternative form of service, and possible that the plaintiff will obtain a default judgment.

If you have any questions about service of process, feel free to contact our office.

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Klauer Law Firm
3509 East Shea Blvd. Suite 117, Phoenix, AZ, 85028
United States Tel: (602) 230-1393    Fax: (602) 230-1273