My name is Ron Drescher. I’m an attorney practicing
bankruptcy and commercial litigation in Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania, and Virginia, and
today I want to answer the question: The sheriff came by, dropped some papers off with my housekeeper,
have I been served? The short answer to that question is yes, you have been served. An
individual is served if the papers are delivered to somebody of adult age in the household
that’s their last known address. This seems fair to most courts and most attorneys who
draft the rules because the idea behind services shouldn’t be a game to see if a person could
hand the papers directly into the hands of the defendant. It’s more of is the service
reasonably likely to alert the person who is the defendant in the lawsuit that there’s
been an action or a proceeding filed against them, and if the answer to that question is
yes, then the courts are going to say fine. The person knows that they’ve been served.
They know that they need to take some steps to protect their legal rights and we can begin
the process of having the lawsuit, and reach a decision on the merits. Service issues can
be difficult and tricky issues because people are trying to evade service. They see the
sheriff coming. They don’t answer the door. That’s why sometimes attorneys have to file
affidavits from the process server that the person seems to be evading service. That happens,
the court might enter an order saying all you have to do is send a mailing with a certification
of the mail, post the papers at the person’s last known address. That person will be determined
to be served even if you never put the papers directly in their hands. My name is Ron Drescher.
I’m an attorney practicing bankruptcy and commercial litigation. If you have a question
about whether you’ve been served with legal papers, please pick up the phone and call
me. I would love to hear from you.