Monday, September 05, 2011


Brand new Florida law regarding service of process - Thanks to Maria J. Gutierrez for providing this important summary of Florida's new law ending immunity for service of process.

The immunity enjoyed by residents of Florida’s gated communities is over for many. Security guards, doormen and other sentinels of gated communities and condominium complexes are now required to allow unannounced access to process services which means our privacy rights have taken another blow. Even though gated communities have increased dramatically in recent history Florida becomes on the third state, following California and Georgia, to pass a law that allows for the serving notice of lawsuit on residents of such communities. 

One alternative to serving the process personally of course is to publish notices but judges recognize the poor likelihood that a defendant will see a public notice. This is often not the best way to ensure fair due process

It's important for lawyers to remember that on occasion judges have invalidated service because the process server didn’t initial the documents for recording in the place a judge specified and this led to confusion about where to annotate a document. This is now clarified in the bill in that the initial should be on the front page of the service documents. And in Florida when it can be proven that service of process was fraudulent the server can be charged with a felony.

At a time when many more people are being served with legal papers than ever before in the history of Florida, it's to thier benefit that process servers are often very resourceful people and will have to be so if they are to serve documents on the residents on Fisher Island just off South Beach. Access to the Island is controlled by way of a privately operated ferry by the Islanders who can refuse to take anyone to the Island on the ferry. So process servers may have to learn to swim or club together and get a boat to take them across the Island should there be a need for effecting service in the future. Hope if you go to that Island no one tries to serve you there.