It can be said that we live in a very "sue happy" society. It's remarkably easy to engage in litigation against someone––it's the American way!
But suppose you have a case (or think you do). You still need someone to serve the defendant the papers (it's highly advised you don't do that yourself, of course). This is where process servers come in. They meet all sorts of people from all walks of life, as you can imagine.
They shared their stories after Redditor CharlotteLucasOP asked the online community,
"Process servers, what's the most bizarre scenario in which you've served someone?"
"I let him into the building..."
"When I got a divorce, my lawyer recommended I hire a process server just in case my ex tried to dodge/deny service. She knew I was filing so it wasn't like it would be a surprise, but better safe than sorry. One problem: This was during a covid lockdown, so neither of us was leaving home. The process server comes, I let him into the building, he follows me to the apartment but then says he can't follow me into the apartment to serve her. So I have to shut the door on him then wait for him to knock so that my ex can answer the door. Probably the most awkward five minutes of my life."
"And then I went home."
"I knew my days as a process server would pay off! So this guy wouldn't come out of his house, but his ex knew he was there because he never changed his iCloud password and was tracking his phone. So I told her to call me the minute she leaves his house. So he finally leaves his house and I am driving like mad to get to his house. He was 30 minutes from me, and so I was getting semi-live updates of his location, and adjusting as I drove.
Eventually, she realized he was stopping at his brother's house, so I got there, but he wasn't there, she stopped paying attention to the map. He just left, so I was following this guy like 5 minutes behind him. I was driving, and I was looking at maps and talking to the client trying to figure out where to turn. I wouldn't let her hang up. After 10 minutes of crazy driving, It looked like he had stopped at an intersection, but while I was passing that intersection I spotted his car filling gas. I made a very illegal left turn (I don't remember why it was illegal). I pulled into the gas station just as he was getting in his car to leave, and stopped my car right in front of his car so he was boxed into the gas station. I confirmed with the client what he looks like and what the dad looks like as I was pulling up.
I jumped out of the car and walked up to his car and asked him are you John doe (I don't remember his name) the dude looked like I was some insane person. He had this just crazy stare like "I can't see you, you can't see me". His dad was driving and his dad was like "hey get away from me! I'm trying to leave!" So then I decided to just knock on his window trying to no avail to get his attention and tell him "John you are being served, here is all of your court documents" then I dropped them all and walked back to my car. I backed up so he could leave and the dad was like... "Umm, you want me to just leave," the ex tells his dad to just leave. And then I went home."
"She just silently..."
"One guy really hated this other lady he was suing, and she kept avoiding the server so he paid me $300 to serve her on Christmas. He knew for sure she was home because she was having a party there in an hour. He wrapped it up in this huge present. So I showed up to her door, and yelled "Christmas delivery!" She thought it was some great present, and had this huge smile. Once she opened the door, I told her she had been served, and it was like she got hit by a brick wall. She just silently took the giant present and walked back in her house with it."
"I worked as a process server for a couple of years during/after college. It was through a private investigation agency so it was a little more intense than the typical process server. Anyways...one time I was hired to serve a stripper, and since we couldn't find a valid address for her the PI had me go into her work and serve her there. I didn't want to cause a scene and get jumped by the bouncers so I purchased a private dance from her then served her in the back room. I even got reimbursed for the cost of the dance when I collected the paperwork. All in all, it was a memorable experience!"
"It's ridiculously easy..."
"When my mother was a Family Law attorney and I was in college, I used to do some process serving for her. She'd never give any that she felt would be dangerous, but In hindsight is probably another poor decision by my mother, and by me who just needed the money.
It's ridiculously easy to get an about-to-be divorced man to open his door to an 18-year-old girl.
I once made an appointment and got my nails done. Paid and gave a tip, and the papers to the same tech. She was pissed."
"He said his worst one..."
"Not me but a guy I worked with was a process server in his downtime. He was older and enjoyed the work. He said his worst one was this guy who knew he had it coming and evaded as best he could. He never answers the door. He'd go to neighbors' houses. Hop the fence to get inside. It was a several-day job because he just kept avoiding the situation and didn't work. The dude didn't live in the best part of town so my coworker had to try and not look sus in the neighborhood. My coworker tracked down some family and figured out where he liked to hang out, he served him in front of his church.
Coworker told me that most people who know it's coming will actively avoid being in situations where they can be served. Most will give you a false name if you knock on the door or tell you that it's their sibling/friend if you ask if they are the right person."
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"Now and then..."
"I'm sure it varies by state, but most of the time everything is done by mail. It's rare to have to serve anyone in person.
Now and then people will suspect that a certified letter is a subpoena and they'll refuse to sign and return to sender. In those cases, you put the letter in a box with a brick and send it again. 90% of the time they sign for the box.
The only time I ever had to actually serve a subpoena in person it was for a lawyer. I just made an appointment for a consultation. He introduced himself, I handed him a folder with the subpoenas saying it was the contract I need reviewed. He opened it and saw what it was and then I said have a good day and left. I got called into court on that one, he still claimed he never got the subpoenas. Judge sanctioned him."
"I once had a client..."
"I am a paralegal. I once had a client who was in her 70s and her husband had her served with divorce papers while she was recovering in the hospital from surgery. Brutal."
"Two stories come to mind, both involving Billionaires who vowed to plaintiff's counsel that they would "not be served," with one laughing at them and saying "good luck." Plaintiff's counsel engaged our firm, and I got the call. Both these took place in the very early 2000s.
For the first guy, I just went to his house at like 4 am, in a swank part of the City. I was dressed in my best suit--vest, tie, the whole thing. He was friends with the local cops so blocking his driveway was a no-go, and his garage was attached anyway so he'd just bolt back inside. I knew he wouldn't answer the door. Within fifteen minutes of watching, though, a solution presented itself. The paper truck came and dropped off his fresh copy of the WSJ right on his front porch. That was my opening.
There were hedges on either side of the front door. So I went up to the porch, grabbed his paper, and tossed it about fifteen feet down his front walk toward the street. And then I crouched behind the hedges. Around 90 minutes later I hear the front door open, then he grunts, and I see him walk out ahead of me. He's got on a robe and PJs from the looks of it, and those leather slippers with the furry stuff inside. While he's bending down, I emerge from the bushes right between him and his front door.
The look on his face when he turned around and saw me there was priceless. I still remember it. I just said, "Mr. XXXXX, you need to take this." And he did. And I left. My boss was pretty impressed with that one."
This was the guy who laughed and said "good luck." I got asked to serve him after my success with billionaire number one. This was going to be harder, though. He lived in a gated community and then had his own little private gate and road. And while this was back before there were cameras everywhere, they had cameras everywhere. So I poked around to see what I can find and lo-and-behold he teaches a weekly "seminar" at the local state college's business school. So I went to his class, waited for him to show up, and served him right there in front of all his students."
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