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How do I serve process in New York State on the agent of a company based outside of New York State?

New York, NY |

How to serve an out-of-state Defendant

I am trying to serve process in New York on a company incorporated in Delaware and based in Washington State. As per the web site of the New York Secretary of State (see
http://appext20.dos.ny.gov/corp_public/CORPSEARCH.ENTITY_INFORMATION?p_nameid=3679808&p_corpid=3671930&p_entity_name=%61%6D%61%7A%6F%6E%2E%63%6F%6D&p_name_type=%25&p_search_type=%43%4F%4E%54%41%49%4E%53&p_srch_results_page=0) , the address of a company called “Corporation Service Company,” based in Albany, is the address “to which DOS will mail process if accepted on behalf of the entity.” Does this mean that I have to mail the complaint and summons to the New York Department of State or can I mail them to the address of Corporation Service Company directly?

Attorney Answers 4

Posted

You should retain the services of an Albany based service firm. They will serve the Secretary of State, whose office in turn will serve the designated agent. There are a number of companies you can use. Search and take your pick.

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6 comments

Asker

Posted

This seems somewhat backwards to me. Why would I serve the Secretary of State who in turn serves the agent? Couldn't I serve the agent directly? In NJ civil cases of less than $25,000, it is very simple: you pay the court a small fee and they serve on the defendant by mailing the summons and complaint by certified mail, without involving a service firm. It seems much more complicated in New York.

Paul Karl Siepmann

Paul Karl Siepmann

Posted

The short answer is "because that's the law in NY." You can't serve by mail. If you want to serve the designated agent, you can do so as long as you comply with the statutory methods of service. If you don't want to worry about obtaining good service, you send it to a service agency that will walk it into the Secretary of State's office. Your service is complete at that point. The secretary will then do what you are not allowed to - mail it to the designated agent.

Asker

Posted

I think the rule is different for Small Claims Court. According to "Guide to Small Claims & Commmercial Small Claims in NYC, Nassau County, Suffolk County," you file the complaint with the court and "The clerk will mail the defendant two copies of the notice: “• One by regular, first-class mail, and “• The other by certified mail. “If the Post Office does not return the notice that was sent by regular mail to the clerk’s office within 21 days (30 days for consumer transaction cases), the Court considers the defendant to have been served – even if the notice sent by certified mail was not delivered." So at least in Small Claims Court, service by mail (by the court clerk’s office) is allowed.

Paul Karl Siepmann

Paul Karl Siepmann

Posted

If this is a small claims case why are you asking how to serve the defendant? If it isn't a small claims case, what you've quoted doesn't apply.

Asker

Posted

As far as I know, the defendant needs to be served in any claim, including in a small claims case. Otherwise, how will the defendant know to answer the complaint?

Paul Karl Siepmann

Paul Karl Siepmann

Posted

Obviously the defendant needs to be served. The manner in which they can be served depends on, among other things, the type of action. You've gotten the same basic answer from three attorneys. Proceed as you wish.

Posted

Hire a process server to serve the Secretary of State in Albany.

I am a former federal and State prosecutor and now handle criminal defense and personal injury/civil rights cases. Feel free to check out my web site and contact me at (212) 577-9797 or via email at Eric@RothsteinLawNY.com. I was named to the Super Lawyers list as one of the top attorneys in New York for 2012. No more than 5 percent of the lawyers in the state are selected by Super Lawyers. The above answer is for informational purposes only and not meant as legal advice.

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Posted

Service of process is a very tricky issue that should be handled by a certified process server. Failure to serve properly can be fatal to your case.

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4 comments

Asker

Posted

Fatal? Can't I simply reserve if not done the right time?

Asker

Posted

Fatal? Can't I simply reserve if not done right the first time?

Edwin Drantivy

Edwin Drantivy

Posted

You can always start over, yes, unless a specific statute of limitations expires.

Asker

Posted

Oh, yes; now I see what you mean by "can be fatal"!

Posted

I agree with my colleagues.

If you found this Answer helpful, please mark it as "Best Answer". Your feedback is greatly appreciated. Peter J. Lamont, Esq. Law Offices of Peter J. Lamont 623 Lafayette Avenue, Suite 2, Hawthorne, NJ 07506 Phone: (973) 949-3770 Fax: (866) 603-0471 Toll Free: (855) NJLAW01 (855) 655-2901 www.peterlamontesq.com Additional Offices in New York, Monument, CO, San Juan, PR and affiliates throughout the country. PLEASE NOTE: The above statements are provided for informational purposes only and do not constitute legal advice. Transmission of the information is not intended to create, and the receipt does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship between sender and receiver. You should not act or rely on any information contained on this site without first seeking the advice of an attorney.

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