In In re Ball (1934) 2 Cal.App.2d 578, 38 P.2d 411, it was held that effective service was made when the process server informed the defendant that he had “ ‘another one of those things for you,’ ” and when the defendant moved away, threw the summons and complaint so that it fell a few feet away from the defendant. “We take it that when men are within easy speaking distance of each other and facts occur that would convince a reasonable man that personal service of a legal document is being attempted, service cannot be avoided by denying service and moving away without consenting to take the document in hand.” (Id. at p. 579, 38 P.2d 411.)
In Ludka v. Memory Magnetics International 25 Cal.App.3d 316, 101 Cal.Rptr. 615, a default judgment was upheld against the argument that it should have been set aside because service of process was faulty. In that case the process server entered the defendant’s offices and, unable to obtain access to a corporate officer, threw the papers on a coffee table saying “ ‘You’re served.’ ” Copies of the summons and complaint were thereafter sent to the defendant. The defendant argued that service was improper because the receptionist, upon whom service ostensibly was made, was not then his secretary nor an agent for service of process on the corporation, and because a third party in the reception area, declaring that service had not been made, threw the papers into the wastebasket. It was held that the service of process “amply complied” with section 415.20 and that the gratuitous actions of the third party did not render service ineffective. (Id. at pp. 320–321, 101 Cal.Rptr. 615.) Here, the process server provided actual notice of the documents to the person apparently in charge of Sabek’s office and, prevented by that person from leaving them inside the office, left them on the other side of the office door. No more was required to effect service other than to mail to Saberi a copy of the summons and complaint.
Code of Civil Procedure §416.90 “A summons may be served on a person not otherwise specified in this article by delivering a copy of the summons and of the complaint to such person or to a person authorized by him to receive service of process.”
Code of Civil Procedure § 415.20. “a summons may be served by leaving a copy of the summons and complaint during usual office hours in his or her office or, if no physical address is known, at his or her usual mailing address… with the person who is apparently in charge thereof, and by thereafter mailing a copy of the summons and complaint by first-class mail, postage prepaid to the person to be served at the place where a copy of the summons and complaint were left. When service is effected by leaving a copy of the summons and complaint at a mailing address, it shall be left with a person at least 18 years of age, who shall be informed of the contents thereof. Service of a summons in this manner is deemed complete on the 10th day after the mailing.”
“[A]n individual may be served by substitute service only after a good faith effort at personal service has first been made: the burden is on the plaintiff to show that the summons and complaint ‘cannot with reasonable diligence be personally delivered’ to the individual defendant. [Citations.] Two or three attempts to personally serve a defendant at a proper place ordinarily qualifies as “ ‘reasonable diligence.’ ” ” (American Express Centurion Bank v. Zara (2011) 199 Cal.App.4th 383, 389.)
Zirbes v. Stratton (1986) 187 Cal.App.3d 1407, found that substituted service on a defendant was ineffective. There, the summons and complaint were left at the defendant’s parents’ house, which was not her residence, and at a restaurant with her estranged husband, where the defendant had once been employed. The Court of Appeal held that because neither location was the defendant’s residence or business, service was not effective.
“[P]re-1969 service of process statutes required strict and exact compliance. However, the provisions are now to be liberally construed to effectuate service and uphold jurisdiction if actual notice has been received by the defendant.” (Bein v. Brechtel-Jochim Group, Inc. (1992) 6 Cal.App.4th 1387, 1392, citing Pasadena Medi-Center Associates v. Superior Court (1973) 9 Cal.3d 773, 778.)
Process server is allowed to enter a gated or guarded community to perfect service upon showing ID and copy proof of registration as process server. Code of Civil Procedure §415.21. Generally, take your business card to show you work for us, and take a picture of the process server registration card.
Service by Acknowledgement
Code of Civil Procedure §415.30 allows the server to mail a summons and request acknowledgement of service. If the person does not acknowledge service, they may suffer “liability for the payment of any expenses incurred in serving a summons…” This is a great way to serve someone who resides out of town.
Code of Civil Procedure §415.40 “A summons may be served on a person outside this state in any manner provided by this article or by sending a copy of the summons and of the complaint to the person to be served by first-class mail, postage prepaid, requiring a return receipt. Service of a summons by this form of mail is deemed complete on the 10th day after such mailing.”
Presumption of Service
The filing of a proof of service that complies with applicable statutory requirements creates a rebuttable presumption that the service was proper. (Floveyor Internat., Ltd. v. Superior Court (1997) 59 Cal.App.4th 789, 795; Evid. Code, § 647.)
“A party seeking relief under section 473.5 must provide an affidavit showing under oath that his or her lack of actual notice in time to defend was not caused by inexcusable neglect or avoidance of service. [Citations.]” (Anastos v. Lee (2004) 118 Cal.App.4th 1314, 1319.)