After a defendant evaded numerous attempts at service out of state where he lives, sub-service was effectuated through a tenant at a California address where the defendant used to live, owns, and now rents out. However, the defendant continues to use the property address as official mailing address for the property tax bills, and presumably the tenant there notifies the landlord of the mailings. Also, by doing so the defendant represents to the county that he actually resides there, although he in fact does not. The defendant was actually notified by the tenant of the service of summons and the defendant recognizes that sub-service was made there. Nonetheless, in his motion to quash service of summons the defendant argues that the address is not a "usual" mailing address. The "usual" mailing address I suppose is where the defendant lives out of state and evaded service, and attempts by mail and acknowledgment of receipt also failed there, the mail returned marked “moved, left no forwarding address.” My question is whether a court would accept the mailing address for the sub-service as satisfying service of process. From a practical standpoint, the address may not be "usual" but it is an active and valid mailing address, the relationship with the tenant satisfies the relationship test, and the defendant was actually noticed and had genuine knowledge of the service.This question seeks further clarification of the answer in a previous post at http://www.avvo.com/legal-answers/can-a-landlord-be-alternatively-substitute-served--615010.html
Given your facts (which I hope you put in your declaration in opposition to the motion to quash service of summons), the court should accept the mailing address for effectuating the substituted service under Code of Civil Procedure section 415.20.
The important point before resorting to substituted service is to demonstrate attempts at a good faith effort at personal service. Two or three attempts to personally serve the defendant at a “proper place” ordinarily qualiﬁes as “reasonable diligence.”
Frank W. Chen is licensed to practice law in the State of California. The information presented here is general in nature and is not intended, nor should be construed, as legal advice. This posting does not create any attorney-client relationship with the author. For specific advice about your particular situation, consult your own attorney.
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