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Lucy, Esq.
Lucy, Esq., Attorney
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Satisfied Customers: 29822
Experience:  Attorney
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Timeline to accomplish summons/complaint serve This is regarding

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Timeline to accomplish summons/complaint serve

This is regarding a civil case in circuit for business dispute case.

It has been more than three weeks since starting to serve summons to defendant.
The court used sheriff who been trying to serve the notice at least five times.
Each time, a notice was left to the defendant's place.

It is pretty sure that the defendant intentionally avoids being served because he
previously did not accept the registered letter sent by plaintiff's attorney (for settlement).

What option the plaintiff/his attorney has? How long it is considered "reasonable time" to serve notice? After the reasonable time passed, can the plaintiff asked court to move ahead to next step?

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There may be a slight delay in response time, as I may be helping with other questions or I may be away from the computer. I will answer any follow-up questions as soon I can.

What is reasonable depends on the facts of the case. In the normal case, where the plaintiff knows where the defendant is, and could easily serve him, it's not reasonable to wait a couple of months. In your case, that's a little different, because you're not actually waiting to serve the other party - you're trying, and he's made it impossible. If you have evidence that the defendant is deliberately avoiding service, and I think you do, you can file a Motion for Service by Publication, telling the judge what you've done so far, and what's happened. The judge has discretion to allow you to publish notice of the suit in the local paper. Usually, you would run the ad a couple of days a week, for a few weeks. In this situation, you can also ask the judge to award you the costs of paying for the ad, since it all could have been avoided if the defendant had just accepted service like he was supposed to. Another option, if you have a way of contacting the defendant, is to let him know that the Motion will be filed, and that you'll also ask the judge to order him to pay your costs. That may or may not convince him to agree to accept service, because it would actually give him a chance to defend himself.

Once the notice has run in the paper, and he's deemed served, then, if the defendant doesn't respond within 20 days, the plaintiff may request a default judgment.

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