Can you arrange a meeting under false pretenses to serve court papers?

UPDATED: Jan 4, 2011

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Can you arrange a meeting under false pretenses to serve court papers?

I need to serve someone for a friend. The guy is a landlord and has listings on-line. He is kind of hard to reach. Can I call and pretend I am interested in one of his properties, and then serve him the papers?

Asked on January 4, 2011 under Real Estate Law, California


M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 12 years ago | Contributor

Generally speaking, the only protection a person has against being served with court papers is when they have to appear in a court for a proceeding and they are physically in the courthouse.  In other words, if a party contests service of papers and there is a hearing as to service, you can not then serve them at the hearing.  Process servers use various tactics to serve papers all the time, some of which could be looked at as unscrupulous.  But as long as they are not illegal - and I do not think that your falls under that category - then you should be fine.  And I might bring a witness with you to the "showing."

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