Number of attempt before you can sub serve a summons
It needs to be reasonable and documented. Certainly if you have a process server you have a better chance of getting the court to accept substituted service.
There is not a specific limit. However, you stand a much better chance of simply getting it done through a licensed process server. Cheap and effective.
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Lawsuit / Dispute Attorney
A reasonable number at a valid address for the person. There is some discretion given to the process server to determine a reasonable number, but the standard number used is three attempts, though I have seen many more in some cases, before the process server then hands the documents to an adult at the residence or a person in charge at the place of business, then serves a copy by US Mail.
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General Practice Lawyer
Wow, nobody answered your question. I will answer it for you.
The substituted service rules differ when serving individuals and entity defendants. Substituted service cannot be made on individual defendants unless a good faith effort at personal service is attempted. (Code Civ. Proc., § 415.20, subd. (b).) This requirement is not in place for substituted service on entity defendants. (Code Civ. Proc., § 415.20, subd. (a).)
Two or three attempts to personally serve the defendant at a proper address usually qualifies as "reasonable diligence." (Espindola v. Nunez (1988) 199 Cal.App.3d 1389, 1392.)
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