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Tag: summons
  • “You’ve Been Served?”: Private Process Servers in North Carolina

    According to Hollywood, court process is served by guys wearing backward baseball caps pretending to deliver pizzas. They roll up, toss a summons-stuffed cardboard box at an unsuspecting defendant-to-be, then ride away proclaiming, “You’ve been served, dude!” (Remember Seth Rogan practicing for the gig in Pineapple Express? Oh, wait. I mean, no, I haven’t watched that movie either.)

    Of course this isn’t how private process servers really do things. Even in states where private process servers are authorized to do this work, they typically have to follow a tighter set of rules. But in North Carolina, things are even stricter—the use of private process servers is very limited in the first place.  In most cases, the sheriff is the proper service agent for personal service of summonses, and the sheriff must refuse or neglect to serve, or must actually try and fail to effectuate service, before private process servers come into play.  Locklear v. Cummings, 822 S.E.2d 587, 593 (N.C. Ct. App. 2018); N. Carolina State Bar v. Hunter, 217 N.C. App. 216, 224 (2011). Continue Reading

  • Dormant or Discontinued? Service Deadlines and the Statute of Limitations

    A plaintiff facing a soon-to-expire limitations period may feel a rush of relief when the complaint is clocked in to the clerk’s office on time and the summons is ready for service. Even after filing, though, it’s too early to stop watching the clock. Failing to observe Rule 4’s time limits on service can also create a statute of limitations problem.

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