The Crucial Role of a Washington DC Process Server

While often overlooked or down played, the role of Service of Process is important when it comes to the courts.

Service of Process is a legal obligation that requires all the parties in a lawsuit are notified legal action has been taken against them. Thus, the court system has paved the way for Process Servers, qualified individuals who dedicate themselves to the work of delivering documents to parties of a lawsuit. These documents include summonses, complaints, subpoenas, writs and other documents that may be related to the case.

How Process Serving Works

Process Servers are usually hired to delivery documents related to court cases. They must follow procedures and process that are in place as defined by the legal system, which often includes delivering the documents face to face.

It is important to note that delivery of the documents are required to be done by someone unrelated to the case.

Process Servers must also provide proof the documents were delivered. This can be an Affidavit of Service or Proof of Service. These are required to be notarized and provided to the person who requested the delivery.

Often Process Servers have extra rights such as to get the change of address and box holder information from the US Postal Service. They are also legally granted the right to access driver’s license information.

Process Servers also file papers with the courts for their clients. But it is not a glorified delivery service. These professionals are also capable of doing investigations and document retrieval for clients.

The role has become so prevalent there is a National Association of Professional Process Servers. With over 2,000 members the organization is headquartered in Portland, Oregon.

“…A NAPPS member is committed to being accountable, reliable and valuable to their legal clients, the courts and the parties and witnesses they serve,” their website states.

“…each member is expected to adhere to high ethical standards and have a through understanding of the NAPPS code of conduct on which NAPPS prides itself.”

They also have an annual conference, which has been running for 35 years. Members include those in 18 different countries.

The Value Of Process Serving For The Courts

To prove how much bearing the courts give Service of Process, an appeal from the District of Columbia was denied in part because of failed attempts to serve the parties in the case.

Bearstop v Bearstop was a case where four divorce actions were consolidated.

One of the problems noted in the court documents was that the wives claimed they tried to notify the husbands they were divorcing but were unable to make contact.

“…after the process servers had been unable to make personal service of the complaints and summons upon their respective husbands, they had made diligent but futile efforts to ascertain the whereabouts of such defendants,” the court documents stated.

The court questioned the women’s efforts, citing that they could reasonably be expected to know relatives that could put them in touch or even the last known employer of their exes.

“…a default judgement against a missing defendant is void unless methods reasonably calculated to provide actual notice have been utilized.”

The court denied the women’s appeal, showing just how serious it takes the process server role.

Getting it done right with LexisNexis

Because Service of Process is such a crucial step in the legal process, LexisNexis, a legal information and analytics provider, has the capability to help ensure service processing is done correctly.

Part of our Risk Solutions include advanced skip tracing, which can help you track down contacts, so you don’t run the risk of having your case tossed out of court.

From locating a person’s current employer, phone number or address our technology can even help you stay within the confines of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act by separating mobile numbers from landlines.

When it becomes impossible to serve someone pertaining to your case, the Law Offices of Paul D. Hunt can get it done easily and efficiently.  We use a combination of LexisNexis, court records, and process servers to fulfill the requirements for service even when a defendant cannot be found.

Typically Bearstop comes into play when you use what is called substitute service or service by publication.  This is in regards to steps needed to serve through a motion to serve by publication.  In these MOST difficult cases the LexisNexis report is attached to a motion to show the search details that are needed for a proper investigation. Bearstop requires a certified mailing to the last known address of the defendant at issue.  Lexis Advance almost always provides that contact address.  Then the address or addresses are investigated which leads to actual service or is the basis for a motion to serve by publication.


While it may seem a small detail to ensure those involved in a lawsuit are served, Bearstop v Bearstop proves just how important the courts see this measure. Without proper notification a defendant may miss an opportunity to present their case and as the courts have noted this directly affects the commitment to a fair trial.

Despite being a behind-the-scenes role, Process Servers are central to the US court system. Our process serving techniques along with LexisNexis are very power and require a security clearance. Our firm has the security clearance to provide your case with this valuable resource and we have perfected the serving process. If you have a divorce, family law, probate, tax lien or other civil case that requires the location of someone’s whereabouts, then call us at (202) 463-1965 or send a message, so we can bring your case the resolution it needs and you deserve!

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