If you are going to sue a person, he has the right to know about it. The process of serving summons is an industry that believes that the fairest way to serve summons to an individual is to give it in person. It often turns out that individuals do not like being sued and in order to procrastinate the lawsuit, they refuse to accept the summons from the process server. Once the summons has been served, it means that judicial proceedings can begin.
Since handling the summons in person is not always possible, the laws have developed certain alternatives to ensure that the defendant receives notice of a lawsuit. The US mail is not always a reliable alternative of serving papers because defendants can ignore or pretend that the summons was not received from the postman. In some unfortunate instances, this serves as an incentive for the defendant to go “off the grid”.
Another option is service by publication in case the defendant happens to read the publication where the lawsuit was published. However, this may be allowed by the judge if the defendant cannot be found. Nailing the summons at the door of the defendant is hardly reliable because the defendant can always deny that he received the document.
Serving legal papers online is not traditional but it is possible because almost everybody has access to the internet through the computer or mobile phone. Online serving also has the benefits of tracking. If the email address is not available, the legal papers can be sent through Facebook messenger. Private messaging will preserve the privacy of the defendant since it is not a Facebook announcement on the person’s newsfeed that can be liked and shared by friends. When private messaging is used, it is easy to know when the defendant has logged in and if the message has been read.
The most traditional process of serving summons is through process serving wherein an individual called the process server delivers the legal documents to the defendant in a timely manner. The job is somehow challenging but there are process servers who have 80% success at their first attempt.