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The Defendant in My Case is Avoiding Service: Now What?

hiding blindsYou’ve hired the best attorney in town and they’ve drafted a stellar Complaint on your behalf. You finally feel as though you are on your way to getting justice. However, your legal fight may be over before it even begins if the Defendant in your case is somehow evading service. Most lawsuits will be dismissed if the Defendant is not served, which is why Defendants try to evade service as a way of making a case go away.

Our laws require that every Defendant in every case be served with a copy of the Complaint, which gives him notice that there is a lawsuit pending against him. Some Defendants try their best to take advantage of this law and will flee, hide, or simply become extremely difficult to find if they suspect someone is trying to sue them. This is called evasion of service and it is perfectly legal.

How Process Servers Can Help

When someone is evading service, you have two options. The first option is to hire a private process server, who delivers Complaints to Defendants and performs document retrievals on a litigant’s behalf.

Process servers also perform skip traces to track down Defendants by using technology and surveillance techniques. When someone is truly committed to evading service, this is often the only option available to Plaintiffs. Experienced process servers not only know the laws of serving an evasive Defendant, but also the best means of getting them served quickly.

Your Last Resort

A second option is service by publication. This option allows Plaintiffs to run an ad in a local paper announcing the lawsuit in order to “serve” the Defendant in the case. Service by publication is usually limited to certain types of cases. A lawyer can tell you if service by publication is an option for you. However, serving someone by process server will always ensure that you avoid legal issues that can arise down the line with service by publication.