Serving your complaint on the defendants: the process server

Usually we plaintiffs have limited awareness of what happens when our lawyers finish our complaints. We go to their offices and sign the verification on the last page, swearing that the complaint contains the truth as we know it.

After that? The lawyer makes a number of copies and has someone − often a paralegal or someone else on the lawyer’s staff or a professional process server − take them to the clerk of the court in which the case will be heard, with a check for the filing fee.

The clerk accepts the check, does a lot of stamping, giving a receipt, etc., and the person filing leaves with the officially filed copies.

And now one of those officially filed copies must be served on the defendant(s).

For the most part, we plaintiffs don’t hear about what happens or even see the affidavit of filing which the process server supplies to the lawyer, as proof that the complaint has been served.

So I read with amusement this lovely oddball article in the Times (To Hear Him Tell It on the Stage, Process-Serving Is a Lark – about a New Yorker named Angel Gutierrez who’s a professional process server. And a stand-up comic.

Ah New York. You are so full of us hyphenates, those of us who do one thing to make our living, and another thing to make our dreams.

P.S. Mr. Gutierrez is actually very funny, as you’ll find when you read the quotes from his stand-up act.


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