In an ideal world, the respondent to a lawsuit would be easy to locate and serve. It won’t take process servers more than a day to serve the individual with legal papers and complete the task the right way by filing an affidavit of service. As the plaintiff or party who filed the lawsuit, you’re confident that your case can push through on the appointed court date because the service of process is completed within the time limit.
Unfortunately, this ideal scenario doesn’t always happen in real life. Some respondents (especially those who hide on purpose) are hard to trace; and even when their addresses are found, they are still often absent.
When faced with a similar problem, your next best option is to serve the defendant through the mail. This process must follow the rules set by the New York courts, however, so you need to entrust the job to experienced process servers who know how to do it properly.
Can court papers be served by fax or e-mail?
The short answer is yes, but it depends on several factors including the facts surrounding the case, and approval from local court rules and the presiding judge.
In New York state, C.P.L.R. § 308 specifies several methods by which service of process may be effectuated on an individual. Should direct mail or in-person delivery be futile, the summons may be delivered “in such manner as the court, upon motion without notice, directs, if service is impracticable under paragraphs one, two and four of this section.”
To authorize service of process by e-mail or facsimile transmission in New York, C.P.L.R. § 308 requires the plaintiff to make an ex parte motion. Otherwise, service may be deemed invalid even if the defendant received the summons. The plaintiff must also prove that service under all other methods is impracticable.
In pending actions where the papers shall be served upon the party’s attorney, transmission via electronic means must be authorized by the chief administrator of the courts by rule and upon the other party’s written consent. The subject matter heading for each paper sent by e-mail must clearly indicate that the matter is related to a court proceeding.
On the other hand, service by fax in New York is allowed, provided that a facsimile telephone number is provided by the attorney for that purpose. It is understood that the designated number is an indication of the other party’s consent to this alternate method of service.
Personal Service by Mail
The 2019 New York Civil Practice Law and Rules Article 3 (which covers the Jurisdiction and Service, Appearance and Choice of Court) states that personal service by mail is a permissible alternative to other methods of personal service. This means that if Personal Delivery, Substituted Delivery, and Conspicuous Delivery (also “nail and mail” service) fail despite multiple genuine attempts, you may ask the court for permission to use other means of service — namely, process service by mail.
This method of process service must, however, follow a specific procedure. Any errors or deviations in its execution could invalidate the service. In other words, if the service by mail is done incorrectly, the defendant could request that the court dismiss the case because of “bad service.”
You can avoid this outcome by working with Serve Index LLC. Our licensed process servers have experience in serving legal documents through certified mail, email, fax, or FedEx. We can serve legal documents to respondents or defendants nationwide and anywhere in the five boroughs of New York (Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens, and Staten Island), as well as Nassau and Suffolk Counties in Long Island.
The Advantages of Personal Service by Mail
As an established process server agency in New York, we deliver legal documents in a punctual manner. We make sure legal documents are served properly and in line with the state’s law. This way, you don’t have to worry about the likelihood of an entire case being thrown out by the court.
Our services can give you the following benefits:
- Avoid spending more than what you and your client is willing to pay for tracing and serving an evasive defendant.
- Avoid a dismissal without prejudice (a judge dismisses your case because the legal papers were not served correctly to the defendant).
- Avoid having to start a case from the beginning and the cost that comes with it.
- Meet the court’s deadline for the service of process:
- Within 120 days of filing for a summons with notice or summons with complaint
- At most, 15 days after the statute of limitations expires for cases whose statute of limitations is four months or less
Our process service agency is well-versed with complaints, subpoenas, summonses, writs, and other legal documents required by the court. We protect these documents for the benefit of all parties involved. We serve these documents on time and in accordance with the New York Civil Practice Law and Rules.
You Can Trust Our Trained and Experienced Process Servers
Serve Index LLC employs licensed process servers who know the ins and outs of the New York service of process rules. With instincts honed through experience and training, our process servers know how, where, and when to serve a defendant or respondent. Preserving the integrity of your case is important, so we make sure to execute the service of process (and the service of any subsequent papers) according to the rules of the New York courts.