Common Examples of Bad Service

Legal papers must be given to you the right way. This is called service. The person that served the papers must swear how they were given to you in an Affidavit of Service.

Below are examples of bad service of legal papers. Read the explanations carefully to see if any of them apply to you. Everyone’s case is different. Some of the examples may apply to you and most may not. Service may have been bad for a reason that is not listed below.

I never got any papers starting the case
You must be given papers that start the case, like a summons or a petition, in the right way. You can get them when someone gives them to you, or leaves them with someone else for you, or leaves them on your door. If you found out about the case because there is already a judgment against you and you didn’t get the papers any other way, this was bad service.

The person suing me handed me the papers
Legal papers must be served by someone who is 18 years or older and is not the person suing you. If the person suing you gave you the papers or gave them to someone else to give to you, this is bad service.

The papers were left with someone who was not likely to give them to me
The person suing you can give the papers starting the case to someone else to give to you. But, only some people can be given the papers to give to you. You must have a relationship to the person given your papers, like someone you live with, or someone you work with. If the papers are left with a doorman, or a child, or a mentally disabled person, this is bad service.

I only got the papers in the mail
In most cases, a lawsuit can’t be started by mailing the papers. The person serving the papers must try to give them to you in person before mailing any papers. If the server was unable to find you, then you should have gotten another set of papers left with someone for you, or a set of papers on your door. If all you got was one set of papers in the mail, this is bad service.

I only got one set of papers on my door and no papers were mailed to me
The server can leave a set of papers on your door after trying to serve you in person. That is O.K. But, if the server leaves papers on your door, he or she must send you another copy of the papers in the mail.

I was given the papers on a Sunday
It is bad service if you were given papers on a Sunday.

Nobody tried to give me the papers personally
The server must try to give you the papers personally before serving them in a different way. If you are always home and the papers were left on your door or given to someone else, this is bad service.

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