How Are Court Papers Served?


Quick Answer

Court papers are served by services such as a sheriff, private process servers or sometimes certified restricted delivery mail. Depending on the state, this can be through law enforcement personnel or a court-approved company that serves paperwork for its clients, according to NOLO.

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Full Answer

When a plaintiff brings forth a lawsuit, it is the court’s responsibility to ensure the defendant in the case is made aware there is a suit making claims against him. Each court has its own rules that allow for different types of servers of court documents. Sometimes it may be a local member of law enforcement or a privately hired process server company. Sometimes it is a disinterested third party to the case. Court papers can be served via certified restricted delivery mail as well. Occasionally a court allows service by publication. This method is usually allowed only by leave of court when other options have been exhausted, states Travel.state.gov.

Some courts allow alternate service such as posting an electronic copy of the complaint and summons on the court’s website. That alone constitutes good service and allows a lawsuit to proceed, reports Alaska Court System.

Court documents include the complaint and a summons that notifies the defendant of the day, time and location where he needs to appear for court, according to NOLO. Other supporting documentation may be served as well.

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