What’s the Best Approach: Calling or surprising with process service?
Well… “surprising” isn’t the word I really like to use, but I do greatly prefer to deliver court papers when the person isn’t prepared to refuse them. Do you see the subtle difference?
Shocking or “surprising” the person is just asking for trouble so I only truly do that when I have to use a pretext when serving court papers and that almost always means serving a person who has a significant history of refusing the court papers.
Usually my client will give me a heads-up that a pretext may be needed.
After all, you have to remember, a lot of people who you’ll be serving are “friendly” witnesses.
That means “your side” needs them served for technical reasons, but they would show up to testify on behalf of their friend even without being served.
An example might be a passenger who was in the car when there was an auto accident and the passenger is going to be testifying that the other driver came left of center and struck them. See what I mean?
My approach was rarely to call before attempting service on a person. There are exceptions and after an attempt or two where I genuinely miss the person (and they are NOT avoiding service!), I might call just to set a time when he or she will be home.
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