What Time Can a NYC Process Server Serve Papers? This was one of the top online searches last year and I wish there was a simple answer to this question. According to NYCourts.gov papers should be delivered between 6 am – 10 pm. NY State General Business Article 2 tells what days we cannot serve. It is not that simple. I have a sneaky suspicion that some recipients of legal papers may have been upset when they were served. So, let me explain it from a NYC process servers perspective.
Let me say first of all most NYC process servers are professional and polite when serving papers. It is our duty to serve them and let the respondents know about the law suit or why they are being served. We understand that not all people or businesses are guilty, so we have no reason to be mean or unprofessional. We just want to let you know about the reason you are being served and move on to the next service.
It is our duty to serve our papers correctly and on time. When a summons in NY is issued we have a limited amount of time to serve the papers. Some of the challenges we face are bad addresses, moved, business has closed, passed away and others. But the clock is still ticking. It is our job to serve the papers. Period.
The statues are not as simple as you may think. There are clocks running from different events. There is so much time a from the date of incident that a law suit can be filed and served. After the statute is up, that’s it. For example, if the case involves a car accident or a business dealing and the statute runs out in a couple of weeks, we may be serving you under that statute rather than from the time the summons was issued.
If the business is still open and the address given to us is good; we will serve it to the business during normal business hours. We do not want to make a scene or disrupt the business in any way. For instance, if we a serving a Doctors office with a waiting room full of people, it would be rude and unprofessional of us to scream out, “The Doctor is being sued and I have the legal papers for them!” or scream to the receptionist that we have a subpoena for the Doctor. We understand that the people in the waiting room will probably lose some confidence with the Doctor, so we will be as discreet and professional as possible and try not to disrupt the business.
If the business is closed, we will try to find the new address and serve it there. If the business is closed for good, our client may direct us to locate the owner or the corporate officers and serve them at their residence or new place of work. Our client may also have us serve the business via New York Secretary of State.
Serving at a residence may seem cut and dry but not for a NYC process server. Yes, we will be at your door during the times from above and we never really know when we will be there in the beginning of the service. For instance, if we happen to be in the area at 7:30 am serving someone else we may stop by simply because we are in the area. This could happen anytime of day or night.
This commonly happens when we are serving an order to show cause. We have to make service personally only on the individual and usually in a short amount of time. We may come at 8:00 pm to serve the husband but if the spouse answers and tells use he is not home, or you refuse to come to the door, we will have to come back until we get the right person.
If a 10 year old answers the door we cannot serve them. Age and discretion for us is defined by someone over 18 years old. Some process servers may leave it with someone who is as young as 15 years old but our internal guidelines are over 18. Another thought that a NYC process server has to consider is if the person we give the papers is going to let the individual know about the legal papers. If all the criteria is met, we serve it on that individual then back it up with a mailing to the individual we were trying to serve.
Not always. If we knock or ring the door bell and you talk to us through the door, sometimes we can just slide the papers under the door and service has been effectuated. Again, with us doing a mailing.
This is where a NYC process server does his/her due diligence. We will come back over a period of days at different times of the day to try and catch someone who is home. We will talk to your neighbors to confirm you do in fact live there. We may talk to the postal carrier and/or confirm through the postal service with a “postal check” that the address is in fact your address. The postal check may reveal an alternative address. There is one ruling that suggests we should ask your neighbors where you work and serve you at work. So we will ask your neighbors where you work. We may use some sort of database to check your address. We have different ways we can check.
There are also alternative means of service. I am not going to go into specifics today but may on another blog post.
One way or another you will be served. We do not take serving papers personally and neither should you. One thing I will say is that the more difficult you are to serve the more aggressive the process server may become. I don’t mean pounding on your door or shouting through your door, I mean we may be asked to stake out your home or business and wait for you to come out to go to the store of even come home for work.
We do understand that receiving legal papers can be very stressful and sometimes surprising. We are not trying to embarrass you and we are not judgmental. Our job is just to notify you!