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Q: Proper service of process in California ( Answered,   2 Comments )
Subject: Proper service of process in California
Category: Miscellaneous
Asked by: drandallboyer-ga
List Price: $50.00
Posted: 30 Nov 2004 20:36 PST
Expires: 30 Dec 2004 20:36 PST
Question ID: 436439
Under California Law, what constitutes adequate service of process of
a summons and complaint on an individual defendant?
Subject: Re: Proper service of process in California
Answered By: jdb-ga on 02 Dec 2004 03:49 PST
Hello, I am responding to your question about what constitutes
adequate service of a summons and complaint.


California Courts: Self-Help Center: Free and Low-Cost Legal Help: Get
Ready for Court
Serving Your Papers & Proof of Service

The law says that when you sue a person, partnership, corporation, or
the government, you must give formal notice to the other side that you
have started the legal process. This is called "service" or "serving."

"Service" means that the other side must get copies of any paper you
file with the court.

Until the other side has been properly "served," the judge can't make
any permanent orders or judgments.

Important! The information here is general and may not apply to your case. 

Two types of service
Most of the time, the first papers in a case have to be "personally served."

"Personal service" means that someone-not you-must personally give
your documents to the other party. The server must:

Be 18 or older; 
Not be listed in your court papers as one of the people involved in your case; 
Give the other party a copy of the documents within the time required; and 
Fill out the Proof of Service and give it to you. 
"Service by mail" means that someone-not you-must mail your documents
to the other party. The server must:

Be 18 or older; 
Not be listed in your court papers as one of the people involved in your case; 
Mail the other party a copy of the documents within the time required; and 
Fill out the Proof of Service and give it to you. 
Who can serve your documents?
The server can be a:

County sheriff 
Professional process server* 
Remember: You cannot be the server for your own case. 

*If you hire a process server, give them a photo of the other party
(if you have one) and a list of times and places when it will be easy
to find that person. Look for a process server who is close to where
the other party lives or works. Fees are often based on how far the
server has to travel. So this will save you money.

Filling out the Proof of Service The court must know that the other
party was properly served. Take the signed original Proof of Service
and a copy of it to the court clerk.

Proof of Service Form: 

The clerk will stamp the copy "Filed" and return it to you.

Keep this copy in a safe place. It is your proof of meeting the
service requirements.

Need more information on Proof of Service?

The type of service you need at each stage of your case is explained
in more detail in each section of this Self-Help Center.
Contact a lawyer. Click here to find free and low-cost legal help:
Consult legal books or Web sites. Click here to find libraries, web
sites, and self-help legal books: 

Statute of Limitations & Your Lawsuit
Many lawsuits MUST be filed within a certain amount of time. This is
called the "statute of limitations."

For example, a personal injury claim must usually be filed within 2
years of the date of injury. If you do not bring suit within 2 years,
the suit is "barred." That means you can no longer sue.

It is not always easy to figure out the statute of limitations. If you
are suing for less than $5,000, ask the small claims legal advisor in
your county for help. (If no advisor is listed for your county, ask
your court clerk for the name and phone number of the advisor.):

In other cases, contact a lawyer to tell you the statute of
limitations in your case. Click here for help finding a lawyer:


California Courts: Self-Help Center: Free and Low-Cost Legal Help: Small Claims:
Collect Your Judgment

Questions & Answers About Process Servers
How much will a process server cost?
Can I get the defendant to pay the cost of a process server?


California Courts: Self-Help Center: Free and Low-Cost Legal Help:
Families & Children
Protection from Abuse
Protection from Abuse > Domestic Violence > Restraining Orders > Get a
Restraining Order > I Filled Out the Forms-What Now?
Take your forms to the court clerk
Find out if the judge made the temporary restraining order
"File" the judge's order
What to do with your copies
Know your hearing date
"Serve" the restrained person
File your Proof of Service
If the restrained person wasn't served...
What do I do next?


This site lists what is required in serving a summons. This is a
example below, but there are more listed on the site


"summons may be served by any person who is at least 18 years of age
and not a party to the action."
(Added by Stats. 1969, Ch. 1610.)

"A summons may be served by personal delivery of a copy of the summons
and of the complaint to the person to be served. Service of a summons
in this manner is deemed complete at the time of such delivery. The
date upon which personal delivery is made shall be entered on or
affixed to the face of the copy of the summons at the time of its
delivery. However, service of a summons without such date shall be
valid and effective."
(Amended by Stats. 1976, Ch. 789.)


California Process of a Lawsuit

"As previously mentioned, a civil case is a private dispute between
two or more parties. The following is an outline of the steps one may
take if a civil action is filed in a California superior court."

"The plaintiff has his or her attorney prepare a document called a
complaint. The complaint states what the dispute is about, why the
defendant is responsible, and asks the court to take a stated action,
such as awarding damages. The complaint, along with a summons, is
delivered to the party the action has been filed against. A summons is
a written order stating that a defendant must answer the plaintiff's
complaint. There are requirements for serving a summons. The party
served is the defendant. The defendant has a specific period of time
to respond to the complaint. This written response is an <$Ianswer>.
The answer admits or denies allegations in the complaint, states any
defenses to the plaintiff's complaint, and asks the court to decide in
favor of the defendant. The defendant also may state claims he or she
has against the plaintiff. Any claim by the defendant against the
plaintiff is a <$Icross-complaint>. The plaintiff must respond to the
defendant's cross-complaint. If the defendant does not respond to the
complaint, the plaintiff can win the case by default. The complaint,
answer, and any cross-complaints are called the pleadings. These
documents are filed in superior court. "


This site has information.


" (b)   The notice specified in subdivision (a) shall be in
substantially the following form:

(Title of court and cause, with action number, to be inserted by the
sender prior to mailing) notice
To: (Here state the name of the person to be served.)
   This summons is served pursuant to Section 415.30 Civ. Proc. of the
California Code of Civil Procedure. Failure to complete this form and
return it to the sender within 20 days may subject you (or the party
on whose behalf you are being served) to liability for the payment of
any expenses incurred in serving a summons upon you in any other
manner permitted by law. If you are served on behalf of a corporation,
unincorporated association (including a partnership), or other entity,
this form must be signed in the name of such entity by you or by a
person authorized to receive service of process on behalf of such
entity. In all other cases, this form must be signed by you personally
or by a person authorized by you to acknowledge receipt of summons.
Section 415.30 Civ. Proc. provides that this summons is deemed served
on the date of execution of an acknowledgment of receipt of summons."
Signature of sender


I hope that you find this information useful. Please let me know if I
can be of furter assistance.  jdb-ga
Subject: Re: Proper service of process in California
From: jplprocessservice-ga on 09 Mar 2005 08:49 PST
If you have more questions about what constitues legal service in
California, we would be more then happy to answer any specific
questions.  Sometimes just reading the definition of proper service is
not enough.  We are registered and bonded as Process Servers in the
state of California.
Subject: Re: Proper service of process in California
From: jplprocessservice-ga on 09 Mar 2005 08:52 PST
Signature of Sender:

JPL Process Service
Registered Process Server

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