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In an active lawsuit, is a corporation's attorney their 'agent for service of process', as per California ccp 416.10?

Red Bluff, CA |

Specifically, if a defendant is sued by a corporation (via their lawyer), and defendant files a cross-complaint, when serving that cross-complaint:
A. One serves the corporation via their lawyer, yes?
B. When serving process upon that plaintiff's lawyer, the rules for serving lawyers apply (basically anyone at the law office can accept service), yes?
So if the process server gives the summons and cross complaint to a manager of the legal department, that would 'count' as proper service, yes?

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Attorney answers 4


The agent for service of process is the person whom the corporation has designated as agent with the secretary of state.

To find the agent, look at the Secretary's website.


No, not necessarily. The agent for service of process is the person designated by the corporation. You can ascertain this information from the Secretary of State website at:

Unless the manager or the lawyer voluntarily agreed to accept service of process on behalf of the corporation, the service would not be considered valid service.

Frank W. Chen has been licensed to practice law in California since 1988. The information presented here is general in nature and is not intended, nor should be construed, as legal advice for a particular case. This posting does not create any attorney-client relationship with the author. For specific advice about your particular situation, please consult with your own attorney.



If the lawyer is already accepting service of process of litigation paperwork, would that or would that not be the equivalent of voluntarily agreeing to accept service of process? I guess the core of my question is, if one is already in a court case, and then files a cross complaint vs. the plaintiff, would one not serve it upon the plaintiff's lawyer? I would have thought so, but the responses above have me question that, so at the risk of being repetitive, can you please elaborate or confirm either way.



Also, plaintiff is not a corp registered in California (so I'd need to search the SOS for their state to find the corp acceptor of service.


You can serve the atty with the cross complaint. See: 428.60. A cross-complaint shall be served on each of the parties in
an action in the following manner:
(1) If a party has not appeared in the action, a summons upon the
cross-complaint shall be issued and served upon him in the same
manner as upon commencement of an original action.
(2) If a party has appeared in the action, the cross-complaint
shall be served upon his attorney, or upon the party if he has
appeared without an attorney, in the manner provided for service of
summons or in the manner provided by Chapter 5 (commencing with
Section 1010) of Title 14 of Part 2 of this code.
CCP 1011 (a) allows you to leave it at attys offc with the person in charge or receptionist.


Service by mail may be appropriate if the corporation is already a party to the action and is represented; no there may be no need to serve the legal department, just the attorney of record.

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