Well, even though the service rules were not followed, you have actual notice of the hearing, so you should attend (unless it is less than 15 days away, in which case you should call the court and ask to postpone it because the service of process rules were not followed).
The service of process rules will protect you if you did not appear, and later asked to set aside the judgment because you were not served. But it won't get the case dismissed outright or anything.
At this point, it really won't help you to avoid court, even though you were improperly served.
Like you said, the rules are in place for a reason, but that reason is to make sure that you are aware of the court date, which you are. If they took a default judgment because you never knew about the hearing, you could get it set aside because of improper service.
But at this point, it is probably best to just appear or contact the lawyer on the papers and try to settle it.
You put either "Deny" or "Insufficient information to either Admit or Deny"
You take copies, one for you, one for the plaintiff, and one for the court.
DISCLAIMER: Answers from Experts on JustAnswer are not substitutes for the advice of an attorney. JustAnswer is a public forum and questions and responses are not private or confidential or protected by the attorney-client privilege. The Expert above is not your attorney, and the response above is not legal advice. You should not read this response to propose specific action or address specific circumstances, but only to give you a sense of general principles of law that might affect the situation you describe. Application of these general principles to particular circumstances must be done by a lawyer who has spoken with you in confidence, learned all relevant information, and explored various options. Before acting on these general principles, you should hire a lawyer licensed to practice law in the jurisdiction to which your question pertains.
The responses above are from individual Experts, not JustAnswer. The site and services are provided “as is”. To view the verified credential of an Expert, click on the “Verified” symbol in the Expert’s profile. This site is not for emergency questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals. Please carefully read the Terms of Service (last updated February 8, 2012).