A civil lawsuit usually is initiated when a person files a personal complaint against a liable person in the local civil courthouse. Typically, civil lawsuits are conflicts that involve monetary requests for compensation or reimbursements from one person against either a company or an individual. Some cases are resolved through settlement negotiations, while others undergo a court process, and the outcome is based on the decision of a grand jury or judge.
Civil court cases take longer than most people think as there are procedural rules and lawsuit processes that cannot be sped up. It can take many months or even years to reach a conclusion. Each procedure takes time, and moreover, the court calendar fills up quickly.
While some defendants respond to civil lawsuits, others go into hiding in order to avoid being served with subpoenas. A process server is typically hired in this case to deliver the documents to the defendant, and if the defendant is not home, the document is handed over to a resident of the premises, provided the person is over the age of 18 and depending on the laws of that particular state. Every state has its own unique laws on the correct procedure of delivering an absent subpoena, so be sure to check your local state laws.
In some states, like New York, if the person is not present to accept service, the process server may even deliver it to the defendant’s place of business. If service is unable to be completed because the person is not located, then the document is considered not to be properly received by the defendant, and the lawsuit typically cannot proceed.
There are a few options available to process servers who are unable to locate their subjects, and process servers often possess the knowledge and experience to perform locating duties quickly and effectively by utilizing several online and off-line tools.
A popular service offered by many process servers is called Skip Tracing. Skip tracing is the art of finding people who can’t easily be located, either a lot of time has elapsed since they have last been spotted, or simply because some people do not wish to be found and go through lengths in order to cover their tracks. This job is also performed by private investigators, debt collectors, repossession agents, bounty hunters and even law enforcement agencies.
Skip Tracing combines the best of the online and offline world, as skip tracers develop sources of information that include the subject’s close associates, neighbours, affiliated groups, and other people that can lead directly to him or her. Skip tracers also use online sources such as informational databases, credit headers, and even social media accounts in order to find out the latest information about the subject.
Some process servers also conduct background checks which would include a criminal history search in order to find out whether the defendant is currently incarcerated or has an upcoming court hearing date scheduled. Background checks also reveal additional civil records for the subject, such as bankruptcies and current assets.
Another popular online source that process servers use to locate their subjects is vehicle search, which involves making inquiries with the local Motor Vehicle Department for any vehicle registration or license plate information. If the vehicle is registered to a PO Box, the process server can file an inquiry with the USPS which will reveal the person’s current listed physical address.
These are just a few examples of the many tools that process servers have at their disposal when it comes to locating a missing subject. Although it can very difficult to locate a missing person who constantly changes addresses or jobs, nothing is out of reach to an experienced and professional process server. Process servers think outside the box and employ different techniques to locate their subjects.