YOU'VE BEEN SERVED...ON FACEBOOK.
Technology has been replacing people for so long now that no one even raises an eyebrow when it happens anymore. Even though the demand for process service seems to be rising, maybe soon technology will replace process servers also.
In January 16, 2018, Preston County Sheriff stated in a news article that they need a huge additional overtime budget just to get caught up in serving papers. Adding new process servers to the field may be a temporary bandage but it is not a sustainable solution because it does not address construction designs that block process servers and it does not address the increasing consistency with which people move around because of the fast paced economy.
It is becoming harder and harder to serve papers. New buildings are coming up every day where their elevator doors open inside the resident's apartment. Guests and visitors only have access to the lobby and residents enter their elevators from locked parking lots not open to the public. Just to enter the elevator a key or pass code is needed. In these situations, where is the front door? Is there even a front door? What about gated communities with no security guards but rather, guests have to use a pass-code to enter through two gates to prevent piggybacking.
At its root, serving process is letting someone know they are being sued and as a courtesy they are given an opportunity to accept the papers in-hand but they do not have to accept the papers in-hand to have been legally served. Obviously there is a bit more to service of process but how the service is done may change in the near future. In April 12, 2015, CNN Legal Analyst, Danny Cevallos wrote an article for cnn.com titled “Process servers can find you on Facebook” where he states “Online service may be a new frontier” and that “maybe online service is long overdue.” Most people today have a steady online presence more than they have a steady address, a lease or a mortgage. In the future we may be served by email or on social media and the courts may deem this to be good service.
No one can say what will happen in the future with certainty but being served online or electronically in some fashion is very likely coming soon. Process servers will have to adapt to survive.
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