What happens when a process server comes to my door?

In Ask Erin by Erin PolisanoLeave a Comment

The other day a man came to my door. I answered the door and he asked if I was John Smith and I said yes. He then said “you have been served”. I didn’t open the screen door nor did I accept or sign anything as he just left the envelope on my porch.

I never opened the envelope and since I didn’t sign anything or accept it, can I just ignore it?

Hello Mr. Smith,

You can ignore this all you like but once you receive a default judgment in the mail, don’t be surprised!! MY recommendation is NEVER To ignore something like this, as the consequences could possibly be devastating. Regardless if you actually touch the envelope that is considered “proper service” under the law. See California Code of Civil Procedure Sec. 415.10.

As a side note, please be aware that if a competent member of your household whom is over18 years old was to be the person who opened the door for the process server and accepts service, that too is deemed proper service. This is what is known as “substituted service”. See California Code of Civil Procedure Sec. 415.20.

Therefore, I urge you to discuss this with an attorney (even if you don’t chose my office). There can be a variety of documents that can be served in this manner. The document could be a could be a Summons and Complaint, which essentially mean s you are getting sued and a response is required within 30 days, depending on how the summons was served, a subpoena for the production of documents that may be in your custody and control, a subpoena for your personal appearance at a deposition or trial or a notice of eviction, etc.

To that end, and in my experience, I would not recommend that you ignore such documents. Please feel free to contact me for a free consultation to discuss this issue in more detail.

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