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What are the limitations to serving someone in California? Can I ask the defendant to meet a third party somewhere to serve him?

El Segundo, CA |

After a failed attempt by a professional process server, this person has not been served. The address provided to me was false, and the residence vacant. Now I have contacted the person under an alias to have him meet me at a public location under the guise of a consultation. He has already agreed to meet my alias this week and I will be recording the entire process, so I can capture the evidence.

What I need to know is that if I do this will I be accused of enticing the defendant into the jurisdiction by fraud and have that nullify the case? Also do I need to ask for ID, or is that unnecessary?

Thank you!

Attorney Answers 3


  1. Best answer

    Mr. Kopelson and Mr. Buzunis have given you good answers.

    As for your concern about enticing the defendant into the jurisdiction, I don't think you have to worry too much. if he is in California and is handed the summons and complaint, he is properly served, no matter why he was there. For that matter, if you knew his address in some other state and the process server mailed it to him by certified mail, that would work, too.

    Hope this helps.


  2. You cant serve the person if you are a party. Have someone else do it. When you say record, do you mean video? You should not audiotape. Video is ok if its a public place, like a starbucks. I dont know how you would ask for ID w/o arousing suspicion. When the person arrives, just have the server ask "Are you John Smith?" When the guy says who he is, serve him and leave


  3. You as a party can't serve the person, it must be done by a third person, not a party to an action. You can videotape the person in a public place but be careful not to record audio without their express permission. Once they are served, make sure to have the process server fill out and file the proof of service on the summons and complaint. You need to be sure the person the process server is meeting is the right person/defendant. If the server asks for ID that may raise suspision, but if they are willing to show the ID so be it, normally the process server will verbally confirm their identity and then effect the personal service.

    Legal disclaimer:This message does not constitute legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. Any statements are made for general informational purposes and do not constitute legal advice. No attorney-client privilege is created by this communication. Attorney is licensed in California only.

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