Legislation/Bills Archives - Page 5 of 6 - DGR Legal

Process Service Legislation in Washington

Posted by | Legislation/Bills | One Comment

In the interest of keeping everyone apprised of recent legislation affecting the process serving industry, we wanted to pass on some information provided by the Washington State Process Server Association (WSPSA) in their recent newsletter.

One of the most noted pieces of legislation is HB 1131, which would make assault against a process server a third degree provision. Registration with an auditor of the county where the process server lives or operates their principal place of business is required with some exceptions, such as if the process server is court appointed or is a sheriff or constable. If passed this law would only extend protection to those who have registered or who are exempt.

The bill was recently reintroduced and retained on May 13th after seeing no action since it was referred to the Appropriations Subcommittee on General Government on February 4th. Hopefully Washington will soon be another state where the law offers an increased level of protection for process servers.

Two other bills were mentioned which allow for alternate service after only two attempts: HB 1307, which was signed by the Governor on April 25th regarding sexual assault protection orders, and HB 1383 which was signed by the Governor on April 27th and involves stalking protection orders.  Both bills will become effective on July 28th.

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MI Bill Excludes Process Servers from Trespassing Penalties

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Being able to access private property without the fear of fines and charges related to trespassing in order to effectuate service may soon be a reality for process servers in Michigan thanks to Senate Bill 321.

Sponsored by Senator Rick Jones, this bill will solve some of the previous issues surrounding the ability to serve on private property within Michigan. The way the current law reads “process servers who  are not also deputy sheriffs or court officers cannot enter onto some private property without risking being arrested and subject to the criminal penalty for trespassing”. As of May 15th the bill has been reported favorably by the committee without amendment.

Not every state offers this level of protection to process servers.  Yet the ease with which Michigan has moved this bill forward provides hope and motivation for other states to pursue similar legislation. S.B. 321 did not see any opposition and while this may not be the case within every state, there is no doubt that the legal system sees the overall benefit to enacting such legislation.  The committee’s arguments in support of the bill state “service of process…is essential to the civil justice system” and that the current laws would “impede the process of litigation or dispute resolution”.

Within the state of New Jersey process servers are required to follow the common law regarding trespassing.  If there is a “no trespassing” sign on private property or an individual asks a process server to leave their property the process server must comply or be subject to fines and potentially imprisonment. Within New Jersey on occasions where the individual threatens a call to the police the rule of thumb is to let them call while waiting off the property in a secure space, usually the car.  When the police arrive the situation can turn one of two ways but overwhelmingly the end result is effectuated service.

What are the laws like in your state regarding process servers and trespassing?  Is this something you would like to see changed if your state has not already done so?

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New Jersey Looks to Eliminate Affidavits of Service

Posted by | Legislation/Bills, NJPPSA, Rulings, Uncategorized | No Comments

While our last post focused on the issue of e-filing affecting messenger service, there is also the potential for process servers to be impacted by e-filing. Within the state of New Jersey, process servers are looking to gain access to the e-filing system, participate in the electronic filing of proofs and to be able to submit e-signatures along with the proofs.

The New Jersey Professional Process Servers Association (NJPPSA) submitted comments on April 30th, 2013 meeting the deadline of May 1st for comments on proposed amendments to R. 1:32-2A.  By having the ability to electronically sign and file proofs of service, process servers will be able to reduce this cost while offering an additional valuable service to their clients.

The comments submitted by NJPSPA would save considerable time and expenses for process servers and their clients. The ultimate goal in obtaining the ability to e-file proofs of service would be to eliminate affidavits which require notarization and instead move to certifications, which do not require a notary. Both affidavits and certifications require the server to attest to the fact that all statements included are correct under the penalty of perjury.

Eliminating the need for notarization would mean proofs of service could be scanned in by a server then e-filed with the court utilizing their assigned electronic signature.  Particularly for process serving companies with a large volume and servers who work outside of the office, this move would help reduce the amount of time needed to complete services and reduce costs. Rather than having to wait for the affidavit to be notarized and wait for it to be mailed back to the office, the server could in theory file the certification immediately after service was effectuated.

Have you had any experience with e-filing in your state? How has it impacted your business or procedures?

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Messenger Service to Take Another Hit, This Time in Florida

Posted by | Courier Service, Legislation/Bills | 2 Comments

Florida has recently issued a rule change, SC10-2101, which mandates service by e-mail for cases when filing. The new rule will have a significant impact on the amount of messenger service work.

messenger service New Jersey

This rule took effect took effect in non-criminal trial court and appellate cases on September 1, 2012 and will be in the criminal trial court by October 1, 2013. There are two main situations in which service by means other than e-mail will be utilized:

  • When service is not allowed by e-mail
    • Parties aren’t represented by attorney and haven’t designated an e-mail address
    • An attorney has obtained an order exempting service via e-mail
    • As a secondary or additional means of service

The courts are now making all attorneys designate a primary e-mail address and while they may seek an exception the odds of qualifying are slim. While other states have implemented e-filing slowly and given attorneys the option to utilize e-filing, in Florida it will be mandatory. The court is only granting exceptions to those who have no email account and who lack access to the internet at the attorney’s office. Those with personal e-mail addresses will not be given an exception.

One of the more interesting parts about this new rule is the vagueness with which service is deemed effectuated. The rule states that service by e-mail is complete when the e-mail is sent.  “Sent” is not clearly defined and it is presumed that it will be taken of as the time the sender clicked “Send”.    This could prove to be an issue which would need clarifying as we see more and more cases of e-service surrounding initial proceedings.

What this means for messengers and couriers

A number of other states have already implemented e-filing systems including:

  • Utah
  • Texas
  • Colorado
  • New York
  • Hawaii
  • New Jersey – Special Civil Part and Foreclosure

Unfortunately it looks as though this is a trend which will continue as courts see the success of e-filing implementation in other states and districts and look to cut costs across the board. By reducing the amount of work available in the legal area it is likely messengers will become more specialized in their services and move to take on work from other industries.

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Results of the NJPPSA Emergency Meeting

Posted by | Legislation/Bills, NJPPSA | No Comments

On April 4th the New Jersey Professional Process Servers Association held an emergency meeting to discuss proposed Rule 1:32-2A and what comments NJPPSA would submit in response.

The primary discussion centered around process servers having access to electronic signatures and the ability to e-file affidavits which would eliminate the need to have affidavits notarized. Instead process servers would have a registered e-signature which they could then use to electronically sign and file all affidavits.

Comments are invited by the New Jersey Judiciary until May 1st. In the time prior to that it was decided upon by the members that comments should be submitted on behalf of process servers to request the ability to file affidavits electronically and have an e-signature. While the final wording of the comments has not been settled, a draft has been created. 

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Correction in Regard to Maryland Bill 554

Posted by | Legislation/Bills, News | No Comments

In a previous blog post we had discussed Maryland Bill 554. I was incorrect in our statement that the bill had been withdrawn. Our understanding of this had been influenced in part by hearing from several MAAPPS members when we were only aware of the Senate bill and not the House bill.

In order to clear up any confusion I spoke with the MAAPPS legislative chairperson, Michelle Dwojewski. It seems as though what happened was that a bill was cross filed with both the Maryland House and Senate in regard to process server registration and licensing.  MAAPPS was able to achieve success in convincing the sponsor of House Bill 1291, Delegate Hucker, to withdraw the bill given that MAAPS was already in discussions with the Senate to negotiate terms that were agreeable to both the proponents of the bill and those in the process serving industry.

The chairperson of the Senate Judiciary Committee and sponsor of the bill, Senator Frosh, has made it clear that Senate Bill 554 will not be withdrawn.  It is anticipated that the Senator will not put the bill to vote in this session as it has been agreed on by both sides that substantial revisions are necessary. This will provide time for MAAPPS to come up with “good, alternative legislation that wouldn’t harm our industry and would be beneficial for the proponents” says Michelle.

Updates will be posted, as well as recent discussions with MAAPPS members at our last NJPPSA meeting.

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New York Already Proposing Even More Process Service Regulations

Posted by | Legislation/Bills, Uncategorized | 3 Comments

New York has already seen a slew of new legislation in the wake of an extreme case of sewer service resulting in nearly 100,000 cases being overturned.  From licensing to GPS requirements to hefty fines, the impact has been felt.  Now it seems as though another piece of ruling is on the table that has a number of implications for servers.

To start, a process server will be required to obtain a license renewal every two years at a cost of $500.  In addition there are stricter rules surrounding the licensing number received such as:

  • Any advertisement, letterhead, receipt or printed matter must contain the license number
  • Servers cannot indicate that because they have a license number that it is an endorsement of their quality of work in any way

Fines are attached to these rules, with a fine of no less than one hundred dollars and no more than $2,000.  That is, if the secretary doesn’t suspend revoke or suspend your license that is.

The new ruling also lays out new rules for the need of a bond, contract of indemnity or irrevocable letter of credit dependent on the number of employees (only counts those who engage in service of process):

  • 1-4 employees: $10,000 bond
  • 5-9 employees: $25,000
  • 10-20 employees: $50,000
  • 20+ employees: $75,000

Violations in this section can cost a server anywhere between one hundred and $10,000 for each penalty.

It would seem as though change is coming to the process service industry in the face of a legal system where concern involving sewer service is on the rise.  

Take a look at the full piece of legislation.

How do you feel about this rule?

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Dangers of Serving & The PAAPRS Campaign

Posted by | Assault, Legislation/Bills | No Comments

While those in the process serving industry know all about how the tense situations services can cause, the media has been bringing more and more of these cases to light.  A recent article on how process servers are saying foreclosures put them in danger highlights numerous instances where servers have faced attacks.  In the face of these types of situations, it seems a good time to spread the word about Serve Now’s PAAPRS campaign.

Process Server Safety

As taken from their site, ‘The PAAPRS campaign is an initiative focused on raising awareness about process server assault and promoting regulations and law changes that further protect process servers’.  This initiative does not just provide articles, news and tips for servers but also provides them with a place to officially mark down server attacks.  While of course all attacks should involve a formal police report, the Process Server Assaults Map allows individuals to visually see the number of assaults.  For purposes of pursuing legislation to have assault on a process server made a felony this detailed record of assaults provides powerful ammunition to pass such a bill.

Process Server assault map

Serve Now even goes so far as to assure each assault case is given a voice if it has not yet received appropriate coverage. Making these instances well known to the public provides even further backing toward the backing of such legislation protecting servers.

Take a look at the site including news coverage, assault map, test your assault prevention knowledge with their short quiz, and make sure to spread the word about this tool which ultimately can help benefit process servers nationwide.

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New York: Assaulting a Process Server a Felony?

Posted by | Legislation/Bills | No Comments

 

Not yet! But it soon could be.

It seems as the though the Illinois Association of Professional Process Servers (ILAPPS) has gotten the ball rolling in regard to legislation making the assault of a process server a felony.  The New York State Professional Process Servers Association (NYSPPSA) has achieved an important step in accomplishing the same goal: the bill has been introduced to the State Senate by New York State Senator Catherine Young.

The bill will also have a sponsor in the assembly, Charles Levine.

A similar bill has already been passed in California and has benefited many in the industry. 

To see the bill go to: https:open.nysenate.gov/legislation/bill/S6759-2011

 

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What New Jersey’s Foreclosure Opinion Means to Process Servers

Posted by | Foreclosure, Legislation/Bills | No Comments

On Monday the New Jersey Supreme Court published an opinion in the case which has been holding up foreclosures in the state, US Bank v. Guillaume.  The heart of the case surrounded the issue of whether or not the lack of both the name and address of the actual lender on the Notice of Intent (NOI) was cause for dismissal of the foreclosure case. Another claim within the case focused on an undisclosed $120 filing fee in the original loan documents as a violation in the Truth in Lending Act (TILA).

Ultimately the Supreme Court decided that lenders, according to New Jersey law, should have the name, address and phone number of the actual lender, not just the mortgage servicer on the foreclosure filings.  However this was not deemed to be significant enough reason to dismiss the case, as the Guillaumes did receive the paperwork and were fully informed that they were required to file an answer to the foreclosure complaint, which they failed to do.

The TILA portion was also rejected, with the judge noting the Guillaumes’ inability to pay the amount due on their mortgage.

So what does this mean for process servers in New Jersey?  Foreclosures that have already been filed will not need to be re-served.  The Notice of Intent will have to be amended to include the lender as well as the servicers for the loans but will not require the documents to be served again.  But this still means the foreclosure wave is officially coming!

 

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