Skip to main content

Is there legal recourse for failure to provide defendant due process of law, in a civil case?

Charlottesville, VA |

I did a search for my name on the courts website (at the suggestion of a good friend of mine) and found this case against me. I am the defendant in a civil case in VA General District Court, I was not notified of any such case until I looked it up myself. I found out that my lawyer was listed as "Pro Se". What, if any, recourse do I have against the plaintiff in this case. Also, I was denied full disclosure of evidence against me. I have received no documentation not even a summons.

+ Read More

Attorney answers 2


"Pro se" means that you do not have a lawyer in the case and are representing yourself. You may or may not have been served with the papers yet and there are may possibilities for how that service of process could occur.

You may have rights to fight this, but whether you do or not depends on very specific facts, the dates of court events, if and how the court record shows you were served with papers, etc. Hire a lawyer immediately if you want to fight this. Virginia is VERY strict on enforcing time deadlines. If the case is small, you should at least hire a lawyer to get the case back on track for you. Go to the courthouse and get a copy of the Warrant in Debt (both sides) and any other papers in the court file and take the papers to a lawyer. Those papers will tell you if the papers have been officially served on your or not. (Sometimes, cases are filed but the papers are not served immediately.)


Your recourse is to fight the plaintiff in court . Improper service provided one opportunity to derail the case.

You should know that the 'I never got a summons' defense is very common. If the plaintiff can show through documentation that service complied with State requirements, you may need another defense.

READ THIS BEFORE CALLING OR EMAILING ME: I am licensed to practice before the state and federal courts in Virginia. We have not established an attorney-client relationship unless we have a signed representation agreement and you have paid me. I am providing educational instruction only--not legal advice. You should speak with an attorney to whom you have provided all the facts, before you take steps that may impact your legal rights. I am not obligated to answer subsequent emails or phone calls unless you have hired me. I wish you the best of luck with your situation.



If I pick up the paperwork that has been filed with the court, does that count as being 'served' according to the rules of procedure?



I have reason to believe the plaintiff purposefully listed a false address for me.

Rixon Charles Rafter III

Rixon Charles Rafter III


The best advice is to face the case you clearly know about, you won't be able to sustain a 'win' by just hoping its goes away.

Lawsuits and disputes topics

Recommended articles about Lawsuits and disputes

What others are asking

Can't find what you're looking for?

Post a free question on our public forum.

Ask a Question

- or -

Search for lawyers by reviews and ratings.

Find a Lawyer