If you are serving a company where the defendant is the registered agent or officer of a company, it is extremely important to make that known to the process server.
When you send a service to be served on ABC Corp. c/o John Smith, the rules of service are very different depending on whether John Smith is the registered agent, an officer or simply accepting the papers on the behalf of ABC Corp as the attorney judgment creditor. Serving a registered agent is much easier and is usually completed quicker than if it is simply an individual accepting on the corporation’s behalf, so for the sake of your case let your process server know!
Service a Company Care of a Registered Agent
Here are the things to remember about service on a Registered Agent:
- If the service is taking place at a business, either the individual named must be personally served or an officer or managing member of the company.
- If you are a serving at a home, the service must still be completed personally or an officer or managing member of the company. If another individual answers the door other than the subject, the server must confirm they are an officer. For example, if the subject’s wife answers the door, the server must confirm she is the CFO, VP, Corporate Secretary or other officer of the company before they can sub-serve. However, you can still serve the Member of Household since service is now at the place of abode for the Officer or Registered Agent for the Corporation. As per Rule 4:4-4 (a) (6) (See below), it does allow service as per the manner prescribed by paragraph (a) (1) of this rule.
Oftentimes clients will request only personal service in these matters to ensure the service is considered valid and avoid any potential rejection of the service.
Rules Pertaining To
Here is the relevant section of Rule 4:4-4 which pertains to service upon partnerships and corporations:
(5) Upon partnerships and unincorporated associations subject to suit under a recognized name, by serving a copy of the summons and complaint in the manner prescribed by paragraph (a)(1) of this rule on an officer or managing agent or, in the case of a partnership, a general partner;
(6) Upon a corporation, by serving a copy of the summons and complaint in the manner prescribed by paragraph (a)(1) of this rule on any officer, director, trustee or managing or general agent, or any person authorized by appointment or by law to receive service of process on behalf of the corporation, or on a person at the registered office of the corporation in charge thereof, or, if service cannot be made on any of those persons, then on a person at the principal place of business of the corporation in this State in charge thereof, or if there is no place of business in this State, then on any employee of the corporation within this State acting in the discharge of his her duties, provided, however, that a foreign corporation may be served only as herein prescribed subject to due process of law;
For the full rules: Rule 4:4 – Process
If you’re ever going to be serving a company care of a registered agent, be sure to tell your process server what that individual’s relation is to the company. This information can significantly impact that the methods of service and whether or not sub-service would be considered valid service.