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When choosing a Process Server for your Next Litigation Case Proceed with Caution and Choose Wisely: Don’t Fall Into the Trap of the Inperfection of Service of Process

law-badge-1164850-m-272x300 (1).jpgOn March 17, 2015 an Article was published titled, “Sheriffs Can Ignore Private Process Servers, Judge Rules,” and it was determined that the article was both informative and accurate, but not without concern. Said concern was expressed by attorneys that the article may suggest that the Private Process Servers in Georgia may no longer by able and authorized to duly serve process. Naturally, this is a valid concern since service of process and perfection of the same whether it be by the Sheriff, a Private Process Server, or a Certified Process Server is the door that opens a case for litigation, and without proper service a case may be delayed for days, weeks, months, and in some rare cases years, or it may be dismissed and not pursued at all. It is, therefore, imperative in litigation that the process of service is perfected properly in order for the case to proceed.

The decision that was written by the Honorable Judge McBurney was meant to be applicable only to certified process servers and was cast in the light that in order for service to be perfected by a private process server that the private process server must have been duly certified by the requirements set forth in the Official Code of Georgia Annotated (O.C.G.A.) Section 9-11.4.1 . Since the Honorable Judge McBurney’s decision does not have an effect on the service of process by private process servers who have been duly appointed under O.C.G.A. Section 9-11-4(c), therefore, it may be concluded during this lengthy period of time being from the enactment of O.C.G.A. Section 9-11-4.1, although said article refers to private process servers, the real fact is that the Honorable Judge McBurney’s ultimate decision has no real effect on the service of process by private process servers who have been duly appointed by the courts pursuant to O.C.G.A. Section 9-11-4(c).

While the article refers to private process servers, the fact is that Honorable Judge McBurney’s decision applies exclusively to certified process servers-private process servers who have been certified pursuant to the requirements laid out in O.C.G.A. §9-11-4.1. As such, the Honorable Judge McBurney’s decision has no effect on service of process by private process servers who have been appointed by courts pursuant to O.C.G.A. §9-11-4(c). Therefore, the result would be that during this lengthly period of time that began with the enactment of O.C.G.A. Section 9-11-4.1 to date the reality now holds that certified process servers, unless duly appointed as certifiedprocess servers pursuant to O.C.G.A. Section 9-11-4.1 have not been properly serving process in their capacity as certified process servers.

It is imperative that the Service of Process has been made and perfected to this current date and the dates forward, and will duly continue to be served by private process servers who have been properly appointed by judges of the courts in which the papers are filed. It shall be duly noted that Georgia Sheriffs have not contended that said Sheriffs have any authority whatsoever to prohibit a private process server who has been duly appointed by the court from serving process in pursuant to that appointment.

It shall be duly noted that the Georgia Association of Professional Process Servers (GAPPS) has filed a Notice of Appeal of the Honorable Judge McBurney’s decision. It is the contention that the GAPPS continues to believe that O.C.G.A. §9-11-4.1 does not give the sheriffs complete and unbridled authority to prohibit certified process servers from serving process; and it is further believed by the process servers that the sheriffs continue to abuse their authority.

What is laying most heavily on the minds of the Attorneys in Georgia who are actively filing and pursuing litigation cases is whether or not said Attorneys can sufficiently rely on the services of a professional process server in light of this current controversy. It has been stated that Georgia’s attorneys can feel confident in continuing to rely upon Georgia’s private process servers to continue to provide the prompt and reliable service of process that has always been, and will continue to be, available. In the meantime, however, it would be well advised that attorneys would do well and be diligent to select certified process servers who are listed on the websites of the Georgia Sheriffs Association and GAPPS, and who are also appointed by the courts in which the attorneys’ papers are filed. In so doing, attorneys can be sure that they are getting the services of properly trained process servers who understand their responsibilities in effecting process that will withstand an attack by defense counsel.

At Julie A. Rice, Attorney at Law, & Affiliates we are in tune with this current controversy and it has been our conduct in the course of business to engage the services of either a certified process server or the Sheriff to do the most important job of perfecting service in a litigation case in which we duly file. This has been our modus operandi whether the case be a Personal Injury Case, a Motor Vehicle Accident Case, a Divorce Case, a Modification of Custody Case, a Medical Malpractice Case, a Wrongful Death Case, a Workers’ Compensation Case, or a Business Litigation Case; just to name a few. We put our client’s interests first and foremost in every step that we take in our cases right down to choosing the proper process server to insure that your case is completed in a professional and first rate manner right from the beginning of the case and until the conclusion of the case.

If you have a question about a case that you have pending or any question at all about any case in which you are involved, then please kindly feel free to contact us by any or all of the following means: By phone at (770) 865-8654, or (813) 363-6664; by email at; and/or you may Contact Us on our Website or by the Contact Form on this blog. We look forward to hearing from you and assisting you with any issues that you may have in which you need our assistance!