Making news headlines this week is the case of Zenaida Gonzalez, who has a civil suit against Casey Anthony for claiming a woman with the same name kidnapped her daughter. The issue at hand is Gonzalez’s ability to serve a subpoena on Anthony. Without the subpoena, their case will not be able to move forward. An Orange County judge ruled that she can be subpoenaed but the defense team does not have to provide her address and does not have to accept service.
With Casey in hiding, how does one manage to serve her? Is this even legal? The basic facts are that these actions are indeed legal and it is now up to the attorneys of Gonzalez to locate Casey. Situations such as these are a common occurrence in the process serving industry, with individuals attempting to avoid service, going to such lengths as to move every few months and acquire new jobs with each move and even change their identity.
So how does a process server locate these individuals? Through due diligence. By carefully going through records and searching through national databases, process servers, many of whom are also private investigators, can locate individuals in order to effectuate service. The process of due diligence has certain limitations to process servers, particularly within states such as New Jersey, before they become a different class of business.
Private investigators in places like New Jersey gmaican take the business of locating an individual to an even higher level, canvassing neighbors and conducting thorough searches hoping to turn up any trace of the person. Conducting interviews and following a trail can eventually lead to the individual, at which time they can be served.
While being a process server sometimes means that the address of the individual is provided, it can also mean that additional work is necessary to locate the subject. For service of process to be effectuated, the server must perform due diligence in attempting to locate this person. Once a process server has completed that (and the expectations of due diligence and steps following this differ from state to state) the subpoena will be able to be served.