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Trying to serve a defendant trying to avoid being served in small claims

Torrance, CA |

I have been trying to serve the defendant, but he keeps intentionally avoiding me , and when I call him he answers then hang up if it's me, I have sent him text messages regarding it and in the content of it I told him the court date and told him I left a copy of the papers in his mailbox thinking he'll be honest and do the right thing, and he replied to my text saying I couldn't care less and went off and said many curse words with it. Court is in 4 days, I have not been able to serve him, and I have had to postpone the court date twice already because I couldn't make it and the second time being that I had to skip trace and took awhile to find information on him, what can i do or say when i go to court, and could i use the texts he sent to me as evidence that I tried to serve him?

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Attorney answers 3


Actually, the judge in the small claims court is not going to care much about the texts he sent. The court is only concerned about whether or not the defendant was properly and timely served in order to ascertain whether or not to allow you to proceed. If not, the court will either grant a further continuance or will dismiss the Plaintiff's Claim.

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.


Mr. Chen, as usual, has hit the nail on its head. If no proof of service, the court will either dismiss for lack of prosecution or continue the trial for you to effect service. You need a registered process server who is good at getting the job done properly. Expect to pay $75 to $150 for this process serving job, but at least you can recover the process server's fee if you win the small claims trial. Four days is not enough time to complete the service. I'd suggest that you contact the clerk of the court to get the hearing continued.

Robert Stempler (please see DISCLAIMER below)
Twitter: @RStempler

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Quit screwing around trying to do this yourself. If the guy was interested in doing the right thing, you probably wouldnt be suing him. Hire a process server, and get served. let the court know you have been diligently trying to serve, and you need a new date so you can serve. When someone is avoiding, you dont call and give them a heads up. A server may need to stake his place out inthe am or evening and try to serve him when he leaves for work or gets home.

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