“You’ve been served!” – but did you do it right? It’s important to make sure you are following the proper procedures to serve the defendant, before a court tells you that you did it wrong. Now, the service is voided and you have to do it again.
What Is Service of Process and Why Should It Be Important to You?
Courts require that plaintiffs “serve” defendants with a court summons and a copy of the complaint against them, to inform them that proceedings have been initiated against them. This gives the defendant a fair chance to be notified of the case against them, in person, in accordance with Rule 106 of the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure.
However, there are times in which it is impractical to serve a defendant in person, which allows for substituted service of citation to be used, if approved by the court. In situations where the defendant is avoiding you in an attempt to avoid being served, there are other options for you to turn to, such as:
- Giving these documents to another court-approved individual
- Sending the documents through physical mail
- Dropping the documents off at work
- Publishing the process publicly
What Changes Have Recently Been Made to Rule 106 that You Should Know About?
Rule 106 was amended in August of 2020 to expand options for substituted service of citation.
Before the amendment, if you were unable to serve a defendant at the location they should be at, your other option would have been to leave a copy of the citation and the petition at that location with any person above the age of 16.
However, after the amendment, another option has been added, allowing for substituted service of citation through electronic means. Under this option, you would have to:
- Make a statement swearing before a notary that service to the defendant at their address was attempted and unsuccessful; and
- Send a copy of the citation and the petition to the defendant electronically through social media, email, or any other technology you believe is reasonably effective to give the defendant notice that they are being sued.
If you would like to use substituted service of process for a defendant who has been avoiding you at the location you have been trying to serve them at, electronic means could be an effective way of serving them in a proper and timely fashion. However, make sure to work with an attorney to determine the best method of serving a defendant and notify them that you are suing them.