In a prior blog on this firm’s websites, we looked at the general rules for serving a summons and complaint on an individual in New Jersey. Let’s look at some of the variations in that process.
A minor under the age of 14 must be served by delivery to either his parent, his guardian or a competent adult member of the household with whom the minor resides.
A mentally incapacitated person must be served by delivery to her legal guardian or a competent adult member of the household with whom the minor resides. If the person lives in an institution, then the director or chief executive officer may be served.
An individual businessman who is a sole proprietor can be served by delivery of the process to that individual, or his managing or general agent, or to any employee of the individual.
For partnerships, service must be made on a general partner. For unincorporated associations, delivery must be to the officer or managing agent of the association.
To serve a corporation with process, there are a number of options. The summons and complaint may be delivered to any officer, director, trustee, managing agent, general agent, registered agent or any employee of the corporation. It is usually preferably to serve the registered agent as identified in the public records.
What if the defendant lives in a different State or in the District of Columbia? That person may be served in the same manner as if she was in New Jersey, either by a public official having authority to serve civil process in that jurisdiction (such as a sheriff), or by an attorney licensed in that jurisdiction.
Service of process in a foreign country requires review of the governing international treaty or convention if applicable, or otherwise can be accomplished by a person appointed by court order.
Serving process is not always easy. Collaboration between the process server and the plaintiff’s attorney may be critical but will usually serve to locate the defendant, who may be attempting to evade service. Both the process service company and the attorney may have access to databases that will assist in this situation.