Were You Properly Served in Your Florida State Court Debt Case?


Were You Properly Served in Your Florida State Court Debt Case?

Proper service is one of the most protected fundamental principles of “due process.” The courts will enforce and protect a person’s right to be properly notified that a case has been brought against them. A violation of this right is grounds to dismiss a case or any subsequent judgment obtained against the defendant. If you’ve been served with notice of an upcoming lawsuit regarding an unpaid debt, you need to know the rules and regulations which govern proper service in Florida. In this post, we will discuss the basics of “service of process” in debt cases in Florida, the various methods of service, and the specific rules which apply to the document which formally initiates a lawsuit – the “summons.”

The Basics of “Service of Process”

  The State of Florida, just like other jurisdictions throughout the country, has its own court rules pertaining to how lawsuits can be initiated, and also how other steps of the litigation process can be initiated as well. The phrase “service of process” refers to the practice of properly “serving” or delivering whatever document may be necessary at a given point in time. In other words, the “service” is the actual communication or delivery of a particular document. There are 3 different ways or methods that someone can use to effect service properly, as we will discuss.

The Methods of Service

  In Florida, the basic rule is that service is proper when served at the defendant’s normal place of abode to the named defendant or someone who lives with the defendant who is at least 15 years of age. As such, service can be accomplished in one of 3 separate ways: actual or physical service, constructive service, and “substituted service.” Actual or physical service refers to the practice of in-person or hand delivery, either by a private process server or a law enforcement officer to the person named in the summons and complaint. Certain rules govern this method; so, for instance, the server needs to make certain that the recipient is in fact the same person identified in the documents being delivered. However, this is not always the case, as in some instances the server can deliver the paperwork to someone else other than the person identified. Both constructive and substituted service of process refer to making a delivery without direct physical contact with the recipient. This might happen if the defendant is not home but has a roommate who is at least 15 years of age who receives the documents. As with actual service, constructive and substituted service follow numerous rules. So, for instance, in certain cases a recipient may be served to the Secretary of State who is allowed to accept service on behalf of Florida residents.

Florida Rules on Serving a Summons

  The summons is the document which formally initiates a lawsuit; this is the document that readers should really focus on when it comes to detecting potential flaws or errors in service of process. If a person will defeat or overcome a lawsuit because of flawed service of process, the chances are high that the flaw will be found in the service of the summons. Florida has a plethora of rules pertaining to the summons, including what information must be contained in the document (identities, the complaint itself, etc.), the exact language which must be used, and so forth. Rule 1.902 of the Florida Rules of Civil Procedure, for instance, governs the language which must be contained within the summons. Furthermore, every official summons must have a copy of the complaint attached to it. In order to detect a flaw, you’re almost certainly going to need a professional who is well-versed in this area.

Contact Financial Freedom Advocates for More Information

  Checking up on proper service is very important because this can potentially overcome a lawsuit, at least in the short-term. To learn more, don’t hesitate to contact Financial Freedom Advocates today by calling 786-668-6688.
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