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Service of Process

Who Must Be Served

Service of process is effective only if the right person is served. When the defendant can be described but not named, service by publication can be made with a fictional name like Richard Roe. Where the defendant is not a natural person but a corporation, statutes generally provide for effective service on a managing agent, a director, an officer, or anyone designated an agent in the corporation's application for a charter or a license to do business within the state.

If the person to be sued is a child or a person incapable of managing his own legal affairs, service may be made on a parent, guardian, or someone else entrusted with the defendant's care or affairs. The plaintiff may ask the court to designate a proper person when there is doubt. An estate can be sued by service of process on an executor or administrator. The plaintiff may ask the court to appoint such a person if none has yet been named.

When more than one person is being sued, each of them must be served. For example, if a partnership is sued, each partner must be served.

Additional topics

Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationFree Legal Encyclopedia: Secretary to SHAsService of Process - Methods Of Service, Where Process May Be Served, Who Must Be Served, Process Servers - When Papers Can Be Served