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TexLaw
TexLaw, Attorney
Category: Personal Injury Law
Satisfied Customers: 4074
Experience:  Lead Personal Injury Trial Lawyer
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in florida, can a person be served a summons and complaint

Customer Question

in florida, can a person be served a summons and complaint at their place of business even if they live in another state (just barely across the state line)? can you show me where in the relevant state statute it points to the ability to formally serve a person via licensed process server, at their place of business, leaving the papers with their business partner. thank you
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Personal Injury Law
Expert:  TexLaw replied 2 years ago.

Zachary D. Norris :

Hi,

Zachary D. Norris :

They cannot leave the papers with your business partner unless they are suing the partnership.

Zachary D. Norris :

If this is what happened, then you have not been served. They can serve you at your business, but it has to be given to you. Stand by and I will provide you with the statute regarding service.

Customer:

i had been under the impression they could be served at their business location?

Zachary D. Norris :

Is it you being served, or are you trying to serve?

Customer:

i had served this person in another state at her business location, in personi to her father who is also her partner ina business

Customer:

i served

Customer:

the procedure for service has to be the same as in this state, so if i cant serve at their business in florida, then i guess they are right

Zachary D. Norris :

Ok, so you are the process server. Are you licensed to serve in the state where the business is located?

Zachary D. Norris :

Florida?

Customer:

no, i am bringing the lawsuit, the process server served her at her place of buisiness

Zachary D. Norris :

Got you.

Zachary D. Norris :

OK. Are you suing the individual or his business?

Zachary D. Norris :

rather her business

Customer:

regardless she had the summons and complaint for more than 30 days, about 45, and now she wants to join a removal to state court, but i argue she is out of time, cuz even if service wzsnt perfected, the OR OTHERWSIE federal provision kics in

Customer:

suing the individual and the business, since she is partnered in the business

Customer:

i mean removal to dfederal

Zachary D. Norris :

So the suit is in federal court and you are suing her individually and suing her business. The process server served her business partner at her office. She is now claiming that she has not been served and is objecting to the jurisdiction of the federal court and asserting it should be dismissed and refiled in state court?

Customer:

so im thinking ,even if the service at her partners house was deficient, im still covered by the fact that she waited about 5o days after replying to the complaint, to join the removal

Zachary D. Norris :

oh

Zachary D. Norris :

Did she reply to the complaint and is not moving for removal?

Customer:

no, she is claiming her consent to remove wasnt needed as she was not a properly served defendant

Zachary D. Norris :

sorry now

Zachary D. Norris :

Ah. I see

Customer:

now she is moving for removal, since she has not so easily quashed service

Customer:

in the state court

Customer:

she thought she could walz in and out

Customer:

i think i will go with what ypu said, since i am also suing the business, then its ok i served her partner..i had not mentined that in my response

Zachary D. Norris :

Well, if you are suing her individually as well, it might be different.

Zachary D. Norris :

Am I correct in my understanding that you are suing her individually?

Customer:

so if i wasnt suing the business, then service would not be perfected by having her served at the location of her business to her landlord/dad/partner?

Zachary D. Norris :

Also, my understanding is that she has joined the other defendants motion to remove the case to federal court?

Customer:

yes

Customer:

she joined it very late

Customer:

way passed her 30 days alotted

Customer:

about 50 days

Customer:

but shes claiming she was not properly served until recently

Zachary D. Norris :

And you are responding to her joinder in the removal action?

Customer:

yes

Customer:

responding to her response to remand

Customer:

replying

Customer:

or other defendants response

Zachary D. Norris :

Wait...your confusing me...

Customer:

but they hang their hopes on bad process service

Zachary D. Norris :

has the case been removed to federal court and you are filing a motion to remand?

Customer:

if she was not properly served, their removal is ok, if she waas properly served, all of them have to go back to the state court, which they dont want

Customer:

i already filed that a while back yes

Customer:

it boild down to this; i had her formally served at her place of business to her dad who is also her business partner

Customer:

the service has to comply with florida rules of service

Zachary D. Norris :

OK. I see, let me look at the florida rules regard service real fast.

Zachary D. Norris :

Please stand by.

Customer:

in florida, if i can serve someeon at their place of business in personal service to their partnerm then im ok

Customer:

i had even heard ya could serve them at their place of business to their secretary

Customer:

so why not partner

Zachary D. Norris :

This is not correct. You have to personally serve each different person or entity named in the lawsuit. If you are suing Company A and its President XXXXX XXXXX, you can serve Company by personally serving its registered agent for service of process or its officers; you can only serve President XXXXX XXXXX by personally handing him the citation. On the other hand, if you are suing a business which is an unincorporated partnership, then you can serve one of the partners and all of the partnership will be considered served. The main rule is as follows:

Zachary D. Norris :

RULE 1.070 PROCESS(a) Summons; Issuance. Upon the commencement of the action, summons or other process authorized by law shall be issued forthwith by the clerk or judge under the clerk's or the judge's signature and the seal of the court and delivered for service without praecipe.(b) Service; By Whom Made. Service of process may be made by an officer authorized by law to serve process, but the court may appoint any competent person not interested in the action to serve the process. When so appointed, the person serving process shall make proof of service by affidavit promptly and in any event within the time during which the person served must respond to the process. Failure to make proof of service shall not affect the validity of the service. When any process is returned not executed or returned improperly executed for any defendant, the party causing its issuance shall be entitled to such additional process against the unserved party as is required to effect service.
(c) Service; Numerous Defendants. If there is more than 1 defendant, the clerk or judge shall issue as many writs of process against the several defendants as may be directed by the plaintiff or the plaintiff's attorney.
(d) Service by Publication. Service of process by publication may be made as provided by statute.
(e) Copies of Initial Pleading for Persons Served. At the time of personal service of process a copy of the initial pleading shall be delivered to the party upon whom service is made. The date and hour of service shall be endorsed on the original process and all copies of it by the person making the service. The party seeking to effect personal service shall furnish the person making service with the necessary copies. When the service is made by publication, copies of the initial pleadings shall be furnished to the clerk and mailed by the clerk with the notice of action to all to all parties whose addresses are stated in the initial pleading or sworn statement.
(f) Service of Orders. If personal service of a court order is to be made, the original order shall be filed with the clerk, who shall certify or verify a copy of it without charge. The person making service shall use the certified copy instead of the original order in the same manner as original process in making service.
(g) Fees; Service of Pleadings. The statutory compensation for making service shall not be increased by the simultaneous delivery or mailing of the copy of the initial pleading in conformity with this rule.
(h) Pleading Basis. When service of process is to be made under statutes authorizing service on nonresidents of Florida, it is sufficient to plead the basis for service in the language of the statute without pleading the facts supporting service.
(i) Service of Process by Mail. A defendant may accept service of process by mail.
(1) Acceptance of service of a complaint by mail does not thereby waive any objection to the venue or to the jurisdiction of the court over the person of the defendant.(2) A plaintiff may notify any defendant of the commencement of the action and request that the defendant waive service of a summons. The notice and request shall:
(A) be in writing and be addressed directly to the defendant, if an individual, or to an officer or managing or general agent of the defendant or other agent authorized by appointment or law to receive service of process;(B) be dispatched by certified mail, return receipt requested;
(C) be accompanied by a copy of the complaint and shall identify the court in which it has been filed;
(D) inform the defendant of the consequences of compliance and of failure to comply with the request;
(E) state the date on which the request is sent;
(F) allow the defendant 20 days from the date on which the request is received to return the waiver, or, if the address of the defendant is outside of the United States, thirty days from the date on which it is received to return the waiver; and
(G) provide the defendant with an extra copy of the notice and request, including the waiver, as well as a prepaid means of compliance in writing.
(3) If a defendant fails to comply with a request for waiver within the time provided herein, the court shall impose the costs subsequently incurred in effecting service on the defendant unless good cause for the failure is shown.
(4) A defendant who, before being served with process, timely returns a waiver so requested is not required to respond to the complaint until 60 days after the date the defendant received the request for waiver of service. For purposes of computing any time prescribed or allowed by these rules, service of process shall be deemed effected 20 days before the time required to respond to the complaint.
(5) When the plaintiff files a waiver of service with the court, the action shall proceed, except as provided in subdivision (4) above, as if a summons and complaint had been served at the time of filing the waiver, and no further proof of service shall be required.
(j) Summons; Time Limit. If service of the initial process and initial pleading is not made upon a defendant within 120 days after filing of the initial pleading directed to that defendant the court, on its own initiative after notice or on motion, shall direct that service be effected within a specified time or shall dismiss the action without prejudice or drop that defendant as a party; provided that if the plaintiff shows good cause or excusable neglect for the failure, the court shall extend the time for service for an appropriate period. When a motion for leave to amend with the attached proposed amended complaint is filed, the 120-day period for service of amended complaints on the new party or parties shall begin upon the entry of an order granting leave to amend. A dismissal under this subdivision shall not be considered a voluntary dismissal or operate as an adjudication on the merits under rule 1.420(a)(1).

Zachary D. Norris :

Look to Section (e)

Customer:

ok, so then i cant have her served with her partner unles he is partnered with himin a business that is also being sued

Zachary D. Norris :

No. Sorry for the confusion. If you are suing her individually, you have to serve her individually. This is still true even if you have sued the partnership by service at the place of business.

Customer:

so then serving her at her business with her partner is invalid?

Zachary D. Norris :

You can serve her at her place of business, but the citation has to be directly served on her in her individual capacity as a defendant

Zachary D. Norris :

It is invalid as to her

Zachary D. Norris :

it is valid as to her business

Customer:

ok, well then, ill have to go with the "or otherise" provision

Zachary D. Norris :

I think that is your best argument.

Customer:

i think that should be ok, since she had it in possession for 45 days

Customer:

ok, thank you very much

Zachary D. Norris :

Although it sounds like she is submitting to the jurisdiction of the federal court by filing something.

Zachary D. Norris :

Good luck

TexLaw, Attorney
Satisfied Customers: 4074
Experience: Lead Personal Injury Trial Lawyer
TexLaw and 8 other Personal Injury Law Specialists are ready to help you

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