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A question about the process servers...

Westminster, CA |
Filed under: Lawsuits and disputes

I asked my friend to serve a lawsuit on someone but he's having trouble serving the summons because the defendant is never home nor are there any other adults over the age of 18 who are home. My friend suspects the defendant is deliberately avoiding him. So my question is this: Can my friend (or anyone else) pretend to be a delivery guy (or anything else other than a process server) in order to get the defendant to open his door? Upon opening the door, the server would then hand the defendant the papers and state the real reason for his visit: that he's being sued. Are process servers allowed to do that?

Attorney Answers 3


  1. yes. As long as your friend doesn't do anything illegal, like trespassing or breaking and entering.

    While I am an attorney, I am not your attorney. You should always speak with your own attorney to gain full and complete legal advice.


  2. Absolutely. A bouquet of flowers like from a florist works well. Consider substituted service if you can document at least three diligent attempts to make personal service.

    Good luck to you.

    This answer should not be construed to create any attorney-client relationship. Such a relationship can be formed only through the mutual execution of an attorney-client agreement. The answer given is based on the extremely limited facts provided and the proper course of action might change significantly with the introduction of other facts. All who read this answer should not rely on the answer to govern their conduct. Please seek the advice of competent counsel after disclosing all facts to that attorney. This answer is intended for California residents only. The answering party is only licensed to practice in the State of California.


  3. Yes, they can do that. The problem is getting the timing so you know the "defendant" is home. if this person has a job it will be MUCH easier to serve him there. Substituted service is available at work.

    If there is no place of work you may have to hire a private investigator to stake the house out. Expensive.

    Ms. Straus (aka Carroll) may be reached at 800-400-8978 during regular business hours, Pacific Time, or anytime by email at: ECSEsquire@AOL.com. All of Ms. Straus’ responses to questions posted on Avvo are intended as helpful information based upon the facts stated in the question, and are not to be relied upon as a final legal opinion. It may not be what you wished to hear, and it does not create an attorney-client relationship. Ms. Straus is licensed to practice law in California. If you would like to obtain specific legal advice about this issue, you must contact an attorney who is licensed to practice law in your state, and retain him or her. Me Straus provides “unbundled” services if you need specific assistance with a specific issue.

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