I am suing my two sisters and seeking to partition to sell real estate property. I had a friend personally serve sister #1. I am sure sister #1 forewarned sister #2 to avoid being served at home. I hired a licensed process server to serve sister #2. Sister #2 works for Contra Costa County court as a court reporter. I looked up her work information on the public directory of ca.gov so I know it's an updated information. They will provide 5 attempts and I asked, "what if she can't be reached?" They told that they will use a sub serve. Is a sub serve valid in CA? She will be served in contra costa and the court date is held in Solano county.
Yes, substituted service is valid in California. Your process server is correct. The authority for substituted service is provided under California Code of Civil Procedure section 415.20(2):
"If a copy of the summons and of the complaint cannot with reasonable diligence be personally delivered to the person to be served as specified in Section 416.60, 416.70, 416.80, or 416.90, a summons may be served by leaving a copy of the summons and of the complaint at such person's dwelling house, usual place of abode, usual place of business, or usual mailing address other than a United States Postal Service post office box, in the presence of a competent member of the household or a person apparently in charge of his or her office, place of business, or usual mailing address other than a United States Postal Service post office box, at least 18 years of age, who shall be informed of the contents thereof, and by thereafter mailing a copy of the summons and of the complaint (by first-class mail, postage prepaid) to the person to be served at the place where a copy of the summons and of the complaint were left. Service of a summons in this manner is deemed complete on the 10th day after the mailing."
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 Avvo.com posting does not create any attorney-client relationship with the author. For specific advice about your particular situation, please consult with your own attorney.
Yes, substituted service is typically satisfactory to the court. It is unlikely, however, you will need it to serve a person who works for Contra Costa County. You have her work address. It's unfortunate you have to proceed, but, technically, it should be little problem. Note: Public directories, even on ca.gov, are not always correct or up to date.
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