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Avoiding the Process Server Doesn’t Help

When a party files a lawsuit, they must let the opposing party know by formally presenting the lawsuit petition. This process is called “service.” Without proper notification of the lawsuit, you cannot be bound by any outcomes of a court proceeding. In fact, the court should not move forward with the case at all. Most courts will dismiss lawsuits after a period of time if service is not done properly.

However, if you think you can avoid being sued by avoiding being served with the lawsuit, think again. There are means of serving an individual other than by a private process server or a sheriff. The court could approve service by:

  • Registered or certified mail.  The court clerk will send the citation to the last known address.
  • Citation by publication.  The court clerk may send the citation with a special notice to a newspaper publication for publishing.
  • Posting the citation at the courthouse door for a specified time.
  • Other methods of substituted service of citation by publication as directed by the court.  I have seen judges authorize the posting of the citation on the front door of the last knwn address of the person.

If you fail to respond to the lawsuit within the designated time period, you risk defaulting on the lawsuit. Here are a few area newspapers used to publish citation by publication.