Recorded a Process Server? Congratulations! You Just Played Yourself!
These days everyone has a smart phone with a camera. It has become common for a person being served to pick up their phone and record themselves being served as they say, “I do not accept service!” I am not sure what the point is because recording a process server serving you will more than likely confirm you were served if you decide to use that video in court. In Florida service is merely delivering the process to the person being served and not necessarily getting that person to accept service. In most cases the person being served does not have to accept the papers in-hand but this does not mean they were not served. They just waived their right to take the papers in-hand to see what they are being served with. The process will continue against them whether they accept them or not. To that end, I am not sure why anyone would record themselves being served if the goal is to prove that they were not served. What is the thought process? Are they going to march into court and say “I did not want to be served and here is the video of the process server handing me the papers anyway to prove it!”? Best of all is when they post the video to YouTube for the world to see their foolishness! Here is a YouTube video of a process server who just served someone and the person actually admits on tape that they received the papers. Go to 1:44: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_zkCYpvesBA
It happens all too often where a person who was served will actually ask for a hearing to set aside service and then walk into court with a video from their own phone showing themselves being served. How is a judge suppose to rule after they see that video? Obviously they have no choice but to rule that they were served. Ultimately it was a huge waste of time for everyone – especially the judge. It is never advisable to upset a judge, especially in the beginning of the case before the whole discovery period and trial. Admittedly this does not happen too often when a person served hires a lawyer to properly advise them. Any lawyer will likely advise their client in this scenario that the video hurts their claim that they were not served.
At Miami PSPI we ask our servers to state if they were recorded or if the location of service has CCTVs and this information is noted in our Returns of Service (a Return of Service is the process server’s report that is filed with the court stating who was served and when the process was served among other things). If and when the servee files their Motion To Set Aside Service, the attorney or entity who retained our services will likely subpoena the records, cellphone video, and/or DVD video from CCTV cameras of the servee to show at the hearing.
In conclusion, if you are being served, hold up your camera phone and record it. The process server may need your video in case you decide to fight service in court.
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