“I know they said they don’t live there – but they have to be lying. Can’t you just leave the papers and sign an affidavit saying they’re served?”
We work hard to always be accommodating to our clients but sometimes the answer has to be no. Why? Because of the right to due process.
We oftentimes run into situations when attempting to serve an individual that a member of the household informs one of our servers that person no longer resides there.
Admittedly, this can be a frustrating situation as they are not always telling the truth. But does that mean if we think they’re lying we can still leave the papers and consider the individual served? No.
What if the DMV report comes back to that address? The answer is still no.
People move and don’t report their address changes. Sometimes they really no longer live at that address. Process service is part due process and without being sure that individual resides where service is being attempted, the right to due process is clearly being violated.
As process servers, we have a duty to perform our jobs according to the law and also ethically.
It’s not the end of the line at this point in a service. Yes, the other alternatives are a little more intensive but there are other steps that can be taken. A skip trace can be performed to find alternate addresses for service, possibly a business address or additional residential address. If you really think the person is lying and no other alternate addresses can come up, a stakeout can be done to try to catch the subject returning or leaving from the residence.
If all of these options don’t turn up results, the court will no doubt agree you have completed due diligence in attempting to locate the subject and will approve an alternate form of service, generally by mail and/or publication.
While it’s by far easier to serve an individual at the address we have on file for them, we cannot simply leave papers there based on that and consider the person served. The court has ensured that a case does not stop there because the individual can’t be located but all of the bases have to be covered. We must be certain we have the correct address for the subject in order to preserve their due process rights.
So while our main goal is to always get an affidavit back to you saying an individual was served, we can only do that if it’s properly served!