Today, we are checking court files to see if the defendants reportedly served by one of our recent subcontractors were defaulted or if they responded or otherwise made a general appearance. We’re also reconstructing recent serves, including those that we have service reports on but the proofs or affidavits remain unsigned. These I am reserving for my clients and, even if they lose a few days, they’ll ultimately have a clean, unquestionable serve.
Because we hired a highly recommended hot shot server in San Diego County toward the end of last year who seemed to be an eager beaver. He worked for several large foreclosure process agencies and they loved him. That was then. Before the wave of Motions to Quash hit the fan for these foreclosure firms. We’ve not had any bounce on us (RASCAL) and we thank our lucky stars for our systems of checks and balances. Others haven’t been so fortunate.
Things to watch out for with subs:
1) The server doesn’t answer his cell or you get clicked over to voice mail after a couple of rings.
2) He doesn’t return his calls or text messages or emails in a timely manner
3) There are numerous attempts at a single address without his verifying that it’s good, either by utilities or neighbors or other
4) When he finally contacts you, he has a list of excuses that would fill a notebook (“My eye was infected – I couldn’t drive!”, or “My son is graduating USC and I need to be with him!” or “My kid ran away and I’m looking for him!”, “My phone was dead!”, “I never got the service!”, “I’m thinking of changing careers and I’m in training!”. I’m sure you have heard them all at one time or another, and they always sound so believable.
5) His reports are convoluted and wordy without saying anything specific, and his descriptions are generic.
6) He has numerous sub serves or “John Doe” services, more than the average server.
7) The signatures on the work orders or proofs are dramatically different from previous ones, or from the final proofs.
You, as the primary agency, are only as good as your last serve. Your credibility is only as believable as the validity of the reports and affidavits signed by you or your people. And for goodness’ sake….don’t allow or accept any proofs unless they bear the original signature of the actual server that signed them. Compare it to the copy of the server’s ID or bond you have in file to make sure.
This can happen to any of us. To tweak a W.C. Fields quote (apologies to Fields): “I never met a con man I couldn’t trust!”.
Michele Dawn is a South California process server with over 35 years experience. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 951-693-0165. https://www.ranchoattorneyservice.com