The National Association of Professional Process Servers (NAPPS) recent donation to the New York Professional Process Servers Association (NYPPSA) to assist in covering costs of litigation has created some controversy, as some believe the amount is too high in comparison to what has been given to other state associations. However, when the entire situation is looked at it seems the monetary commitment to NYPPSA’s fight is one that is well justified given the impact the rulings would have had on process servers within New York City, many of whom are NAPPS members, as well as the potential impact this could have on similar future rulings in other states.
If the DCA recommendations and proposed rules were put into effect without any opposition the result would have been extremely damaging to the process server industry in New York City in regard to cost measures. It also would have been difficult for servers to meet the expectations set regarding time requirements for reporting. The litigation NYPPSA did on behalf of NYC process servers resulted in the following successful adjustments to the rules:
- Instead of having a 24-hour reporting requirement for all services the time was extended to two business days after the last event recorded
- The amount of time process servers need to keep papers records was reduced from 7 years to 3 years, reducing the financial burden placed on servers and agencies.
- A new rule added a method for licensees to correct typographical errors in or advertent omissions from any entry into electronic format.
NYPPSA was also able to change the GPS requirements for New York City servers. Originally servers would not have been allowed to continue their route if the GPS did not have a signal. The GPS requirements also could present problems as a process server sometimes has no way of knowing that the GPS coordinates were not captured until the records are reviewed at a later date. However this rule was overridden and servers are now allowed to proceed as long as the GPS tracking is implemented correctly.
Numerous process servers in New York are members of NAPPS but NYPPSA, and these members have benefitted from the efforts of NYPPSA. The litigation of NYPPSA also saved a large number of NAPPS members from having to pay a $1,000 fine. The DCA intended to fine 129 process servers and agencies for each non-compliance for the NYC rules put into effect in May that many were unaware of. NYPPSA worked to get an abatement for the $129,000 and saved many from an unnecessary expenditure.
By contesting the original proposed rules, NYPPSA was not only working on behalf of New York City process servers but on behalf of process servers across the country. The adjusted rules also made it so that work from the other 49 states would be excluded from having to comply with the New York rules. As President of NAPPS and NYPPSA Larry Yellon said: “NYPPSA was the NAPPS foot soldier fighting a battle that affects the entire country”.
The litigation of NYPPSA also has effects for the entire industry and future proposed legislation. The case of the Long Island process serving company American Legal Process and its owner William Singler spurred the rule and law changes within New York. A suit filed by the 2009 New York Attorney General, Andrew Cuomo, finally came to a head when Singler, pled guilty to fraud for failing to provide proper legal notification to thousands of New Yorkers facing primarily debt related lawsuits. Singler was eventually sentenced to prison on March 24, 2010 for more than 1 year and the Attorney General is currently pursuing dismissal of over 100,000 cases handled by ALP.
As more cases of sewer service come to light it is not without reason to think that other states may soon follow in the footsteps of New York and lay down more stringent laws. Within Florida alone two process serving companies are currently being investigated by the Attorney General, ProVest and Gissen & Zawyer Process Service Inc. While there has been no statement made by the Attorney General, the outcome could result in new process serving laws. Even though states have their own regulations regarding the requirements for process servers, legal matters tend to look at previous cases to set the precedent.
Total costs of all litigation equaled $187,000 of which NYPPSA contributed $87,000 from its own treasury. What if NYPPSA did not exist or simply did not have the money to put in to cover ANY of the costs? Then NAPPS would be stuck with the full bill. While the total requested amount from NAPPS of $100,000 is indeed more substantial than any other previous amount that has been granted, this is also the most significant piece of process service legislation to come about in terms of regulation.
While the recent ILAPPS victory to get assaulting a process server made a felony is without a doubt a resounding victory that will hopefully pave the way for more states to adopt a similar law, a lack of NAPPS financial contributions would not have resulted in extreme detriment to hundreds of process servers. The New York City rules and regulations that were to be put into place would have had a profound effect on process servers as a whole and an even more onerous one on the smaller process serving companies. NYPPSA has contributed a significant amount from their own treasury to the litigation bill, and it does not make sense for such an organization to bear the entire burden of a fight that benefited NAPPS members both within NYC as well as on a nationwide level.
Congratulations to NYPPSA for your hard work and commitment to ensuring fair regulations and rulings for process servers!
Let us know what you think and where you stand on the issue below!