Serving court paperwork, such as summons or other important documents, can be a difficult job, especially if someone is purposefully trying to evade the serving of said documents. A process server needs to be able to quickly recognize evasive behavior so they can work to get around it and finish the job. If you are just starting your career as a process server, the following tips can help you to successfully serve an evasive person.
Tip #1: Get a full description
Your client should give you as many details as possible about the person you will be serving. This includes more than just general appearance, such as height, hair color, and weight. They should also clue you in on some habits of the person, such as where they work, what days they typically work, or places where they tend to hang out outside of work. It's also helpful to get a description of their car and the license plate number, if possible.
Tip #2: Try a random call out
Knocking on someone's door puts them on guard, so they may refuse to answer or acknowledge their name. As a server, your goal is to get the person to admit who they are so you can be assured that they are the person named on the paperwork. Simply leaving the paperwork on the property without first verifying identity and making it clear that you are serving papers in not enough. Generally, if you can get acknowledgement that this is the correct person, you can then leave the paperwork on their property within their sight and it counts as proper serving, although you will want to verify the state laws on process serving to be sure.
One way to get verification that you are serving the right person is to position yourself near an area where you expect them to pass, such as outside of their work or on the sidewalk near their home. When they come outside, simply call out their name before they they spot you. If they respond, then you can proceed with the serving of the papers.
Tip #3: Look for social situations
Finding out a person's habits can make it easier to serve them. For example, if they tend to go out for drinks at a specific place on a Friday night, plan to be there so you can walk up to them when they are relaxed. Begin by introducing yourself, and then when they reciprocate, you can serve them, since you now have verified their identity. This technique can work at any location where it is common for new people to meet.
Tip #4: Enlist the help of the neighbors
Sometimes the neighbors can be your best allies. If you can't seem to catch the person you need to serve at their home, talk with one of the neighbors. Don't give details; just simply state that you need to deliver some important items to the person and you were wondering if the neighbor could call you when the person arrived home. Failing this, a neighbor may at least be willing to tell you what times the person is normally home. Get in touch with a company like Cooper Process Service LLC for more info.