In a recent suit brought by the family of a process server who was killed while attempting service, the Virginia Supreme Court has stated that attorneys have no legal obligation to warn process servers of a potentially dangerous service.
The family of the process server, Greg Brown, had appealed the original decision, but the Virginia Supreme Court sided with attorney Sherwin John Jacobs. The Virginia Supreme Court stated that no lawyer who hires a process server has a duty to warn them that the defendant might be armed and dangerous, as was the case when Brown when to go serve the defendant.
What does this mean for process servers?
This ruling serves as a warning to not assume the lawyer involved would have told you if the service could potentially be a dangerous situation.
It means process servers should always be going into each service aware the situation could turn and prepared to the best of their ability to handle it.
It also means process servers should ask more questions of any service where they feel the subject may be a risky serve.
While the majority of services go smoothly for the most part, it’s important for process servers to stay vigilant on each service and be aware that in emotionally charged situations there is the potential for a subject to become hostile.