Friday, January 8, 2010

How does your association deal with process servers?

In this time of increasing foreclosure lawsuits, many communities are likely to see a new visitor at their gates-the process server!

Service of process is the official delivery of legal papers on parties, witnesses or other people involved in a case. Chapter 48 of the Florida Statutes is known as the Florida Certified Process Servers Act. This chapter lays out the qualifications for process servers as well as the various methods of effectuating service of process.

Some communities may be unaware that their current policies and procedures may impede the service of process. For example, a gated homeowners' association may require a "call ahead" to all owners before a visitor may be admitted. Most security personnel know to admit persons legally authorized to execute process in to the community but some still call ahead after raising the visitor gate. Doing so, may allow the person against whom process is sought to evade it.

Similarly, some condominiums with a concierge or front desk personnel may have policies that don't take into account the need to allow effective service of process to occur by those persons legally authorized to execute same. Interfering with persons legally authorized to execute process constitutes a misdemeanor of the first degree in the State of Florida. In this day and age of increased process server activity, it is important for gated communities and other communities with access control policies to review those policies with association counsel and advise their personnel accordingly.

1 comment:

  1. Florida 843.02 charges a misdeamenor for obstruction of a person lawfully authorized to effect service. The phrase lawfully authorized to execute process is broad and ecompassing. To serve a Federal Summons only requires 18 and an uninterested party as well as the majority of other states long arm statutes, In essence HOA have their hands full and keep a look at the news as one HOA in SWFL will soon be sued.