Invalid Service


The tricks of serving process papers can, however, reach a point that the courts will not tolerate because they subvert the purpose of service or threaten to disrupt the administration of justice.  The most intolerable abuse is called sewer service.  It is not really service at all but is so named on the theory that the server tossed the papers into the sewer and did not attempt to deliver them to the proper party.  Sewer service is a fraud on the court, and an attorney who knowingly participates in such a scheme can be disbarred.


Anyone who serves process must file an affidavit of service with the court, giving details of the delivery of the papers.  If the facts in an affidavit of service falsely assert that the papers were delivered, the person who swears to them can be prosecuted for the crime of perjury.  In addition, the plaintiff's action will not have commenced.  If the statute of limitations has expired by the time the true facts of the improper service are disclosed, the action is completely barred and the plaintiff has lost the right to sue.


Service is also invalid if the defendant has been enticed into the jurisdiction by fraud.  Courts have ruled that luring a potential defendant into the state in order to serve him with process when no other grounds exist to assert jurisdiction over him in that state violates the individual's right to due process of law.  Service of process by fraud is null and void.