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I live in Illinois and earlier today a process server showed

up to my residence and...
I live in Illinois and earlier today a process server showed up to my residence and gave me a Alias Summons. When I looked it over, the name on the summons wasn't mine. I caught up with the process server and explained to him the mix up, he apologized and took it back. Now I'm wondering, did I do the right thing? Or should I have tried to in contact with the law firm that was listed on the summons?
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Answered in 42 minutes by:
9/3/2013
Brandon M.
Brandon M., Counselor at Law
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 12,620
Experience: Attorney experienced in numerous areas of law.
Verified

Brandon M. :

Hello there.

Brandon M. :

Thank you for your question. You said that the name on the summons wasn't yours, and you said that you returned it to the process server, so may I safely assume that the intended recipient was not someone who currently lived at your residence?

Brandon M. :

I see that you just joined the chat. Welcome. Hopefully, you can see and respond to my question.

Customer:

My wife and I have lived in our apartment for three going on four years. I have never heard of the person that was on the summons.

Brandon M. :

Thank you for that information. To answer the question, there's really not a right or wrong course of action in that situation because there's no duty to acknowledge an incorrectly delivered alias summons. If the process server fails to properly effectuate service, that problem is between the plaintiff and defendant to work out.

That said...

Brandon M. :

there are some process servers who are simply not interested in doing the job right. They're paid per delivery, so if they deliver to the wrong person, they get paid the same as long as the problem is never uncovered. Oftentimes, it is never discovered.

Brandon M. :

So although there is not an affirmative duty, if you are interested in seeing a just outcome, you would want to alert the process server (who should have verified your identity before effectuating service anyway). Ideally, you would call the attorney and let them know that the process server didn't do their job.

Customer:

My wife answered the door, and was handed the document and he left. I looked it over and was lucky that he was still in my parking lot. If this happens again, what do you think I should do? Call the attorneys office and inform them?

Brandon M. :

That's what I would do.

Brandon M. :

Otherwise, I could foresee the following:

Brandon M. :

Let's say it is related to a civil case. The process server reports the service as complete. When the defendant doesn't file an answer, the plaintiff's attorney files for a summary judgment--basically saying that the defendant gives up their right to be heard by failing to file on time. The court enters a judgment against the defendant because the court and the plaintiff's attorney think that the defendant simply failed to respond. Some time later, the defendant gets a notice that his/her bank account is getting garnished, or paycheck is getting garnished, and has to research to find out what happened because he/she had no notice of any of this. Then, the defendant has to prove that he/she wasn't living at the residence, and the whole thing has to start over from scratch. This would likely be years down the road, and the process server is long-gone.

Brandon M. :

The process server is long-gone, or says that the person answering the door acknowledged themselves as the intended recipient. I don't think that most process servers are dishonest, but a few of them are dishonest. A few of them aren't dishonest, but don't try especially hard to ensure that the right person is being served.

Brandon M. :

Does all of that make sense?

Customer:

Yes it does, so what should I do? Just go on with my life? And if someone shows up again, take the summons and start making calls?

Brandon M. :

At this point, you no longer have the summons in your possession and you don't know the name of the attorney on the summons, correct?

Customer:

Correct

Brandon M. :

Then there is nothing else to do at this point. Notifying the process server of the mistake was appropriate. If it happens again, you might want to consider contacting the attorney's office and letting them know that their process server isn't delivering to the right address or checking to see who lives there.

Brandon M. :

So, for now, just going on with your life is fine.

Customer:

Ok, I just wanted to make sure, thank you for calming my fears, and answering my question. You have been extremely helpful.

Brandon M. :

Great. It was my pleasure. Have a good evening.

Customer:

You too sir

Brandon M.
Brandon M., Counselor at Law
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 12,620
Experience: Attorney experienced in numerous areas of law.
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Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 12,620
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