Service of Process is a critical component of your default practice.
In my experience many firms take Service of Process for granted. Service of Process in Florida can be especially complex as there are 67 counties and 20 judicial circuits. Each county or jurisdiction manages their own Special Process Server or Certified Process program each with their own peculiarities.
20 Jurisdictions, 67 Counties, Knowledge is key:
Additionally, each serve is different, and the circumstances require thorough knowledge in each jurisdiction. If your firm utilizes a Legal Service firm, like 360 Legal, that is a member of the National Association of Professional Process Servers (NAPPS), the Florida Association of Professional Process Servers (FAPPS) or the American Legal and Financial Network (ALFN) you are covered. Membership in these organizations ensures that your Service of Process vendor maintains their certification and is up to date current regulations and rules of civil procedure required to handle your most complex cases.
FAPPS is working to strengthen Title IV, Chapter 48
During the 2019 legislative session, FAPPS proposed and successfully lobbied for several changes to Florida Title VI, Title VI Chapter 48 in House Bill 91. FAPPS legislative focus is strengthening Chapter 48 to make it more difficult to quash service of process on your cases. This year there were 8 changes adopted and signed into law by Governor DeSantis. One key area of change was to the Substitute Service provision. As of June 7, 2019, a spouse does not have to request service if they are a party to a case. A Process Server can now sub-serve the spouse anywhere, not only in the county where they reside.
How does this impact your firm?
While this might seem like a small modification, this change directly impacts service completion dates and timelines. Previously, a spouse had to explicitly request service. This change prevents serving one spouse while the other spouse begins avoiding service, thus forcing the firm to serve the remaining spouse by publication. FAAPS also successfully lobbied for the adoption of electronic signatures on Returns of Service. Previously, only Sheriffs were authorized to utilize electronic signatures.
FAPPS was a key champion in changing the requirements for Process Servers to place their identification number on the first page of the service package in Florida jurisdictions where numbers are not assigned. This change prevents opposing counsel from quashing service in instances where identification numbers may not be assigned like Motion and order counties or out of State Process Servers.
You can find out more about the complete list of legislative changes on the FAAPS website.
Learn more about the National Association of Professional Process Servers here -
Until next time, Relax, it's 360 Legal!