Question: I found out that a process server is trying to find me to hand me lawsuit papers. If I hide and stay away from home, so that he cannot serve me, will they eventually dismiss the lawsuit? What if I refuse to sign for it?
That’s not how service of process works. After the debt collection lawsuit has been filed, the court will set a return date by which the proof of service (“POS”) must be filed. The POS states that the process server handed to the defendant a copy of the summons, complaint, and any other documents, including the date, time, and location where this occurred. It does not require that the defendant sign for the papers, nor does it require any other proof, such as video or a photo.
If the process server goes to the defendant’s home, but was unable to serve the defendant there, he or she can hand it to anyone age 18 years or older at the residence, then mail an extra copy to the residence. The POS that is filed with the court must state the name of the person served and each of the previous attempts to serve the defendant at home, and state the date on which the documents were mailed to the residence. This is known as substitute service (aka “sub-service’), and it is a valid manner of serving a credit card collection lawsuit in California.
If a POS cannot be filed due to the process server being unable to locate defendants, either their residence or where they work, the plaintiff’s collection attorney will often ask for more time, because their process server has been trying to serve the defendants, who are evading service or not yet located. If the process server has performed the proper steps and still unable to find the individual defendants to serve them, the court can allowed service by publication in a newspaper of general circulation.
Thus, hiding or evading a process server rarely results in the case being dismissed, due to lack of service. Beware that sometimes the process server files a POS saying that they served the defendant, even that was not so, which can result in a default judgment being entered when the defendant did not know. Please see my blog on no service but a default judgment was requested.