A recent New Jersey Bill, A106, would require access to be granted to process servers at gated communities and multi-unit complexes. Those who fail to allow process servers to enter for the purposes of effectuating service would be face criminal charges.
Serving in gated communities or multi-unit dwellings has long presented a problem for process servers, who without permission to enter can find themselves unable to complete service even if the individual was willing to accept it. Those who live in such areas have been able to evade process servers, slowing down cases and impeding the legal process. If this bill passes, process servers would be able to help keep cases moving along with more effective service.
Under the bill, those who don’t allow an authorized process server to enter the gated community or multi-unit complex would be charged with a disorderly persons offense. These offenses carry punishments of up to 30 days in prison, up to a $500 fine or both.
Attempts to pass similar bills in other states haven’t always passed. For example, in 2017 Virginia withdrew SB 823, which would have given process servers access to gated communities.
However, other states do have similar legislation. Florida passed a rule to allow process servers access in 2011 and Illinois followed in their footsteps several years later. California also has rules which provide process servers access, which just went into effect on January 1st.
If this bill passes, it will prove to be a benefit to lawyers and their clients in keeping legal proceedings moving forward.