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HOW TO SERVE LEGAL PAPERS IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA

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Undisputed Legal | District of Columbia Process Service

When papers are to be filed in Court, it is the primary responsibility of the plaintiff to ensure that all parties involved in the case are entitled to receive a copy. Fundamentally, this is the role of the plaintiff in ensuring that copies are given to the parties of the case in a manner that adequately completes the requirements of the District of Columbia Process Service.  

Additionally, the District of Columbia Process Service must be tailored in accordance with the requirement of the suit itself, since different situations require different types of District of Columbia Process Service.

WHAT TO DO WHEN SERVING A SUMMONS AND COMPLAINT

At the outset of the summons is issued,  it must be served at least thirty days before the date set for an initial hearing of the action to comply with the District of Columbia Process Service. This includes Sundays, legal holidays, and days that fall within a period during which the Mayor has declared a public health emergency. However, a summons may be served both during that period and for sixty days following that period if the summons is issued.

To serve a summons if the defendant has fled the District of Columbia or is not located, the summons may be delivered or left with a person over the age of sixteen who lives on or has possession of the property sought to be recovered. Within three calendar days of the day on which the summons is posted, a copy of the summons will be sent first class U.S. mail, postage prepaid, to those premises sought in the name of the person known to hold the premises, or if unknown, to those premises sought to be recovered according to District of Columbia Process Service.

A picture of the posted summons must be provided to the court if it is served by posting a copy of the District of Columbia Process Service on the premises. Clearly visible timestamps on the picture are required to show the day and time the summons was posted.

METHODS OF SERVING SUMMONS

At the plaintiff’s specific request, though, the Court may order that District of Columbia Process Service be accomplished by a United States marshal, deputy United States marshal, or other person or officer specifically designated by the Court for that effect. This direction will only be done in circumstances where service is to be effected on behalf of the United States or an officer or agency of the same, or when the Court issues an order asserting that District of Columbia Process Service by a United States marshal or deputy is required so that District of Columbia Process Service is properly effected in that particular action. 

District of Columbia Process Service is also done via substitute service at home.  This is not something that the plaintiff can do on their own since they are thus barred by law. If the petitioner does not have someone to hand the documents over to, a process server who is professionally engaged to do so will be able to serve the documents. Substitute Service can also be done at the individual’s place of work. An adult who is not involved in the case will be asked to go to the other parent’s place of employment and hand the documents that are required physically to the individual.   

While it is not as common, the District of Columbia Process Service can also be done via Certified Mail and First-Class Mail. For this, it would be necessary for the petitioner to mail the Summons and Complaint by certified mail, with the return receipt requested. This is something that the individual can accomplish on their own by going to the post office. After the letter is delivered, the post office will send the individual a return receipt via mail. Consequently, District of Columbia Process Service may be effected by mailing a copy of the summons, complaint, and initial order by first-class mail, postage prepaid, to the person to be served, together with two copies of a Notice and Acknowledgment conforming substantially to Form 1-A and a return envelope, postage prepaid, addressed to the sender.

Unless good cause is shown for not doing so, the Court will order the payment by the party served of the costs incurred in securing an alternative method of District of Columbia Process Service if the person served does not complete and return, within twenty days after mailing, the Notice and Acknowledgment of receipt of the summons.

SERVICE IF THE DEFENDANT CANNOT BE LOCATED

If the individual cannot find the other party, it is possible to a Motion to Serve by Publication or Posting. To initiate, the plaintiff must make an attempt to locate the opposing side. In the motion, it is required to make a list of all the things that have been done to locate the other party. During the court hearing or by letter, the judge will inform the plaintiff of their decision concerning the motion. If the court rules that the plaintiff has not put forth enough effort, then they have the option of making more and then filing another request if they are unable to locate the missing party.

Making an announcement in a newspaper is what is meant by process service by “publication”. If the court approves the request, the plaintiff must make preparations for publication of the notice. For a period of three weeks, the notification must be published once weekly in two publications.  The newspapers will send proof of publication to the court.

Service by Posting is when notice is put up in the courtroom. If paying for a notice’s publication is out of the question for the plaintiff,  they may seek to have it posted instead. It is indeed required to note in the motion any circumstances wherein the plaintiff has previously been given a fee waiver. The court will determine whether to allow notice to be posted instead of published if the plaintiff does not provide information about their financial condition in the petition. The court clerk’s office will take care of posting the notice for the necessary twenty-one days if the request to post is approved. If service is done by posting, then the clerk’s office will take care of matters insofar as the plaintiff does not even actually have to file an affidavit. 

SERVING COURT PAPERS FILED AFTER THE INITIAL COMPLAINT

One must serve the opposite party with copies of any further documents they submit in a lawsuit, such as replies or motions, generally. Ordinarily, these documents may be sent by first-class mail. Send the documents to the opposite party’s lawyer if they have one. The documents should be sent directly to the opposite party if they don’t have an attorney. It is also possible to hand-deliver the paperwork to the lawyer or the opposing party.

It is required that the summons be signed by the Clerk, carry the Court’s seal, identify both the Court and the parties, be addressed to the defendant, as well as mention the plaintiff’s attorney’s name and address if the plaintiff is not represented. If the defendant does not show up and defend themselves within that time frame, there will be a default judgment against them for the remedy sought in the complaint.

CIRCUMSTANCES WHERE SERVICE OF PROCESS MAY BE DONE DIFFERENTLY

District of Columbia Process Service upon individuals in a foreign country is possible in the District of Colombia unless the individual is an infant or an incompetent person. This District of Columbia Process Service is done upon an individual from whom an acknowledgment has not been obtained and filed, which can be done by international agreements like the Hague Convention on the Service Abroad of Judicial and Extra-judicial Documents. 

However, it is not absolutely necessary for this international agreement insofar as if are no internationally agreed means of service or the applicable international agreement allows other means of service, provided that District of Columbia Process Service is reasonably calculated to give notice: [A.] in the manner prescribed by the law of the foreign country for service in that country in action in any of its courts of general jurisdiction; or [B.] as directed by the foreign authority in response to a letter rogatory or letter of request; or [C.] unless prohibited by the law of the foreign country, by delivery to the individual personally of a copy of the summons, complaint, and initial order; or delivery by mail requiring a signed receipt, to be addressed and dispatched by the clerk of the court to the party to be served. 

SERVICE OF PROCESS ON THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA ITSELF

The summons, complaint, and first-order must be served by presenting them to the Mayor of the District of Columbia and the District of Columbia Corporation Counsel. A written notice filed with the Court’s Clerk by the Mayor or Corporation Counsel designates an employee to receive service of process. A copy of the summons, complaint, and first-order must also be given or mailed to the officer or agency in any action challenging the legality of an order of the District of Columbia not made a party. The summons, complaint, and first-order shall be delivered to the Mayor (or designee), the Corporation Counsel (or designee), and such official or agency for District of Columbia Process Service.

The District of Columbia may be served by providing a copy of the summons, complaint, and first-order to the Mayor (or designee) of the District of Columbia and the Corporation Counsel of the District of Columbia. By virtue of submitting a written notice with the Court’s Clerk, the Mayor and Corporation Counsel can individually nominate one employee to receive service of process. A duplicate of the summons, complaint, and first-order must therefore be given or mailed to almost any officer or agency of the District of Columbia that is not a party to the action challenging the legality of an order. The summons, complaint, and first-order can then be served on a District of Columbia officer or agency by providing a copy to the Mayor (or designee), the Corporation Counsel (or designee), and such officer or agency.

A summons may be modified with the permission of the Court complying with rules of District of Columbia Process Service. In the event that District of Columbia Process Service is made pursuant to statute or rule of court that [A.] provides for service upon a party not residing in District of Columbia, or [B.] provides for service upon or notice to party to appear and respond to the attachment or garnishment or similar seizure of the property of the party located in District of Columbia, District of Columbia Process Service should be completed based on this statute.

When the plaintiff files court papers other than the initial complaint, they must also file a certificate of service that states who they served, the manner of, at what address, and on what date. Serving court papers filed after a final order has been entered would then require the filing of the motion or pleading after more than sixty days of a final order or judgment, the papers must be served the same way the plaintiff would serve a summons and complaint.

HOW TO FILE PROCESS WITH THE CLERK OF THE COURT

For a filing to be done adequately with the clerk, it is necessary to understand that every single paper that is permitted to be filed in this court must be filed with the Clerk. This means that filing should be accomplished in accordance with the methodology and the timelines of the Clerk. For example, filing may be accomplished by mail addressed to the Clerk, but will not be considered to be timely if the Clerk does not actually receive the papers within the time fixed for filing. Additionally, a paper filed by an inmate confined in an institution would be considered to be timely if deposited in the institution’s internal mailing system on or before the last day for filing. If an institution has a system designed for legal mail, the inmate must use that system to receive the benefit of this rule. 

District of Columbia Process Service upon the clerk is usually done by [A.] personal service, which would also provide for delivery to a responsible person at the office of counsel; [B.] by mail; [C.] by the third-party commercial carrier for delivery within three calendar days; or [D.] by electronic means, if the party being served consents in writing. Although these forms of District of Columbia Process Service are typically undertaken, it should be remembered that other factors like the immediate nature of relief or distance should be considered. Additionally, for all requests of expedited and emergency consideration, District of Columbia Process Service should be done specifically on all counsel as well as any party not represented by counsel. Furthermore, District of Columbia Process Service by mail or by the commercial carrier is complete on mailing or delivery to the carrier whereas similar service by electronic means would be considered to be complete on transmission unless the party making District of Columbia Process Service is notified that the paper was not received by the party served.

It is necessary for any paper presented for failing to maintain a record of service, which often takes the form of [A.] an acknowledgment of service by the person served; or [B]. proof of service consisting of a statement by the person who conducted District of Columbia Process Service. This proof of service usually would include. the date and manner of service; the names of the persons served; and the mail or electronic address addresses of the places of delivery, as appropriate for the manner of service. This proof of service must be included with the papers that have been filed. If any paper is not accepted by the Clerk for filing, the Clerk must promptly notify the persons named in the certificate of service.

HOW TO SERVE AND FILE BRIEFS

There is often a timeline for serving and filing briefs adequately.  Usually, the plaintiff must serve the opposite party with copies of any further documents they submit in a lawsuit, such as replies or motions as per District of Columbia Process Service. Ordinarily, these documents may be sent by first-class mail. Send the documents to the opposite party’s lawyer if they have one. The documents should be sent directly to the opposite party if they don’t have an attorney. It also is possible to hand-deliver the paperwork to the lawyer or the opposing party.

Individual appellants may join to submit a single brief in consolidated appeals. There must be a reply brief filed within the time allowed if individual appellants or appellees submit separate briefs, the period running following delivery of the last brief to which a response is made.

It is also required to ensure that the number of copies for District of Columbia Process Service is adequate if there is a consolidated brief that is submitted. An original and three copies of each brief must be filed with the Clerk. However, if the case is to be heard en banc, then an original and nine copies of each brief must be filed. A copy of each brief must be served on counsel for each separately represented party, as well as on each unrepresented party. By order in a particular case, the court may require the filing or District of Columbia Process Service of a different number of copies.

There are repercussions to a Failure to File. An appellee may seek to dismiss an appeal if an appellant fails to submit a brief within the time period specified in this rule, or within the time period thus extended. Unless the court gives permission, a party that fails to submit a brief will not be heard during oral argument.

For more information on serving legal papers, contact Undisputed Legal our District of Columbia Process Service department at (800) 774-6922. Representatives are available Monday-Friday 8 am – 8 pm EST.  If you found this article helpful, please consider donating.  Thank you for following our blog, A space dedicated to bringing you news on breaking legal developments, interesting articles for law professionals, and educational material for all. We hope that you enjoy your time on our blog and revisit us!  We also invite you to check out our Frequently Asked Questions About Process Servers.

Sources

1. (USMS), U.S. Marshals Service. “U.S. Marshals Service.” U.S. Marshals Home Page, https://www.usmarshals.gov/process/summons-complaint.htm. 

2. Individuals can get court pleadings at www.dcbar.org/pleadings, or at the D.C. Superior Court Family Court Central Intake Center (500 Indiana Avenue NW, Room JM-540), open Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

3. ” Rule 4 – Summons, Miss. R. Civ. P. 4

4. (Dec. 23, 1963, 77 Stat. 513, Pub. L. 88-241, § 1; July 29, 1970, 84 Stat. 552, Pub. L. 91-358, title I, § 142(2).)

5. The Convention on the Service Abroad of Judicial and Extrajudicial Documents in Civil or Commercial Matters, more commonly called the Hague Service Convention, is a multilateral treaty which was adopted in The Hague, The Netherlands, on 15 November 1965 by member states of the Hague Conference on Private International Law.

6. Unless a rule requires service by the Clerk, a party must, at or before the time of filing a paper, serve a copy on the other parties to the appeal or review. Service on a party represented by counsel must be made on the party’s counsel.

7. Timely filing may be shown by a declaration in compliance with 28 U.S.C. § 1746 or by a notarized statement, either of which must set forth the date of deposit and state that first-class postage has been prepaid.

8. Rule 35. En Banc Determination

(a) When Hearing or Rehearing En Banc May Be Ordered. A majority of the circuit judges who are in regular active service and who are not disqualified may order that an appeal or other proceeding be heard or reheard by the court of appeals en banc. An en banc hearing or rehearing is not favored and ordinarily will not be ordered unless:

(1) en banc consideration is necessary to secure or maintain uniformity of the court’s decisions; or

(2) the proceeding involves a question of exceptional importance.

WHAT’S HAPPENING WITH FACEBOOK

Facebook

Undisputed Legal | Process Service

For more than five hours on October 4th, a critical part of the world’s social media landscape was down due to an error in the routers that coordinate traffic to Facebook‘s data centres. The outage re-ignited demands for federal antitrust changes that might decapitate the rapidly expanding internet behemoth.

The catastrophic, if only temporary, failure of the business left millions without access to a single communications tool. Because of its monopoly on three of the world’s social communications markets, consumers have no other choice than to utilise Facebook.

WHEN FACEBOOK FAILED

Facebook’s systems are set up to check for errors, but an audit tool that was supposed to block the command that triggered the outage had a flaw, according to the firm. Furthermore, malicious behaviour was not to blame for the outage.

Unfortunately for Facebook, the system breakdown occurred just as the corporation was coming under fire from Congress for allegedly prioritising profits above user safety, an accusation disputed by Facebook.

WhatsApp, major messaging service with over two billion users, was disabled for consumers and internal tools were also restricted for workers.  For Facebook engineers, the problem was made much worse since the outage disabled the tools they usually use to analyse and fix failures of this kind. Indeed, it was necessary to send engineers to the data centres to fix it, a task made harder since it took the business a long time to get engineers inside to work on the servers because of the tight security measures in place.

Even when the data centres’ network connection was restored, Facebook said it was concerned that a spike in traffic might cause the company’s websites and applications to go down.

According to Facebook, a mistake during regular maintenance on the company’s data centre network was to blame for the worldwide system failure on Monday that lasted over six hours and created a flood of issues that prolonged the repair process. Web monitoring company Downdetector claimed the outage was the worst it has ever seen. Billions of Facebook (FB.O), Instagram (IGS.O), and WhatsApp (WAP) users were denied access to their applications as a result, and the corporation has been under fire for weeks now.

FRANCES HAUGEN’S TESTIMONY

For years, Facebook has battled accusations that it has a monopoly on social networking. A request to dismiss the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) complaint accusing Facebook of squashing its competitors was also submitted by Facebook’s attorneys on Monday as its engineers raced to repair its server problems.

A former Facebook employee turned whistleblower testified before the U.S. Senate on Tuesday, accusing the corporation of prioritising profits above user safety, a charge the company rejects. Facebook owns Instagram as well as WhatsApp. Employee Frances Haugen stressed the fact that  that ‘Facebook’s closed design means it has no oversight — even from its own Oversight Board, which is as blind as the public.’

That makes it impossible for regulators to serve as a check. Haugen’s argument centred around the fact that Facebook has had incidents of rampant violence on the platform, and maintained that Facebook had done too little to prevent its platform from being used by people planning violence. This is owing to the fact that Facebook was used by people planning mass killings in Myanmar and in the Jan. 6 assault by Trump supporters who were determined to toss out the 2020 election results.

October 3rd, on ‘60 Minutes,’ Frances Haugen, in her capacity as a former Facebook data scientist, came forward not only to acknowledge that she was the whistle-blower who had leaked the documents. Additionally, she revealed they formed the basis of at least eight complaints that she and her lawyers had filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. 

As the main product manager on the civic-integrity team, Haugen worked for Facebook for almost two years until the firm combined the two teams into a single department. The day following the Facebook outage, on October 5th, Haugen spoke before the Senate Committee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety, and Data Security for more than eight hours. In her testimony to the Senate, she said, ‘Almost no one outside of Facebook understands what occurs within Facebook.’ since ’the corporation deliberately conceals critical information from the general public, the United States government, and governments worldwide.’

WHERE THE FTC COMES INTO PLAY

There is renewed interest in the antitrust case filed by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) against Facebook after the widespread social media outrage, which was allegedly triggered by an error on Facebook routers.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is now involved in a battle to solve Facebook’s underlying issue, which shows monopolistic tendencies. This market inequity is addressed in part by the antitrust case now pending in the courts.  ‘Antitrust’ refers to laws enacted by governments to prevent companies from becoming monopolies in order to maintain healthy competition. So, for example, if a company buys out several of its best rivals, it would be in violation of antitrust rules since it would have dominance in the relevant industry.

Four months after successfully having a previous lawsuit dismissed, Facebook Inc. filed a fresh petition on October 4th  seeking the dismissal of a federal antitrust action claiming the corporation engaged in illegal monopolisation. There are allegations that Facebook illegally maintained its dominant position by acquiring potential rivals like the messaging platform WhatsApp and image-sharing app Instagram. The company’s submission to a federal court in Washington, D.C., is the newest counterattack against the Federal Trade Commission, which first sued Facebook in December. It is the commission’s goal to undo the arrangements that have been made. 

By filing a lawsuit on December 9th, 2020, the Federal Trade Commission claimed that Facebook was unlawfully preserving its social networking monopoly by engaging in anticompetitive behaviour for many years. After a thorough investigation conducted in collaboration with a group of attorneys general from forty s states, the District of Columbia, and Guam, the complaint claims that Facebook has employed a systematic strategy to eliminate competition, along with its 2012 acquisition of up-and-coming rival Instagram, its 2014 acquisition of mobile messaging app WhatsApp, and the encroachment of anticompetitive circumstances on third-party software developers. This behaviour hurts competition, reduces consumer choice in personal social networking, and denies marketers the advantages of competition in the marketplace.

This could include, among other things, the requirement of divestitures of assets such as Instagram and WhatsApp, the prohibition on Facebook imposing anticompetitive conditions on software developers, and the requirement for Facebook to seek prior notice and approval for any future merger or acquisition. 

According to the lawsuit filed with the FTC, Facebook has its sights set on prospective competitors who could challenge its hegemony. At a time when users of individual social networking services were moving from desktop computers to smartphones and when people were progressively adopting photo-sharing, Instagram appeared. Additionally, it was claimed Facebook officials, including CEO Mark Zuckerberg, soon realised that Instagram was a dynamic and creative personal social network that posed an existential threat to Facebook’s monopolistic power.

WHY INSTAGRAM AND WHATSAPP ARE RELEVANT

Instagram’s purchase by Facebook for a billion dollars in April 2012 reportedly neutralises Instagram’s immediate threat while also making it increasingly impossible for another personal social networking rival to acquire size.

When ‘over-the-top’ mobile messaging applications first appeared, Facebook apparently saw them as a significant challenge to its dominance. Facebook’s leadership was aware—and concerned—that a successful mobile messaging app might join the personal social networking market by adding new features or by spinning off a separate personal social networking app, according to the lawsuit, which cites internal emails and documents.

WhatsApp was the obvious worldwide ‘category leader’ in mobile messaging by 2012. Again, according to the lawsuit, Facebook decided to purchase WhatsApp for nineteen billion dollars in February 2014 rather than compete with a growing danger. With the purchase of WhatsApp, Facebook reportedly neutralises any future threats to its personal social networking monopoly, as well as making it more difficult for any new competitors to establish a foothold in mobile messaging.

This is something Facebook strongly disputes, claiming that it has earned its current position on the merits by providing users with things they want for free. Earlier this year, a federal judge dismissed the first FTC case against Facebook after finding that the agency had not made enough allegations to back up its argument that the social media giant had broken the law.

According to the court, the agency was given one more shot to prove its case. As a result of the FTC’s first complaint, Facebook claims that a deficit still exists. It argued that the FTC’s claims that the business is a monopolist are unsupported by statistics.

‘A litigation-driven fiction at odds with the business reality of strong competition with surging rivals like TikTok and scores of other attractive choices for customers,’ was a major argument during this case.

In its second complaint, the FTC provided a more in-depth explanation of why it thought Facebook was abusing its market power to stifle any competitors who could pose a danger to its dominance. While claiming Facebook used ‘strong-arm methods’ to hurt competitors by blocking third-party app developers from accessing its platform, the latest lawsuit also argues that Facebook wanted to acquire rivals rather than compete with them.

THE NEED TO UPDATE ANTI-TRUST LEGISLATION

Long-standing demands by a bipartisan coalition of U.S. legislators to modernise the country’s rules regulating monopolies in order to properly regulate—or possibly split up— the business have gained new urgency in light of the outages and Haugen’s testimony and appearance on 60 Minutes Sunday.

Since the Clayton and Sherman Acts were enacted more than a century ago, not much has changed in terms of American antitrust legislation. Republicans and Democrats, for various reasons, have increasingly criticised the growth of Big Tech in recent years. Market concentration, according to Democrats, harms consumers in the long run, while Republicans believe that big digital firms may use their market dominance to stifle some forms of free expression.

As a result of existing antitrust rules, the impact of a company’s saturation on consumer prices is given precedence. Because Facebook generates money from advertising and is free for users, regulatory agencies have a hard time enforcing conventional monopoly restrictions due to the financial effect on users. However, there are encouraging indications that things may improve in the near future.

Six antitrust reform measures were advanced by the House Judiciary Committee in June, including one that would prohibit internet firms from buying up growing rivals and another that would prevent big tech from giving their own goods priority over competitors’ products. It took the committee over 20 hours to mark up this package of legislation because of disagreements over how to effectively restructure the space.

HOW FACEBOOK IS RETALIATING

US antitrust regulators want to compel Facebook to sell Instagram and WhatsApp as part of a revamped antitrust lawsuit, which the social media giant is fighting. 

The company maintained that FTC failed to establish a ‘plausible factual basis for labelling Facebook an illegal monopolist.’ This led Facebook to state that there is ‘no foundation’ to claim that Facebook has or had a monopoly. A dismissal with a prejudice request from Facebook would make it more difficult for the agency to modify its case.  Facebook said on October 4th that Judge Boasberg had erred in dismissing such arguments.

Lina Khan, the FTC’s new chairperson, was a major contender for Facebook’s request for dismissal. Because of her past criticism of big internet firms, Facebook claimed that Ms Khan was biased when she joined the FTC and had concluded that the corporation had broken the law. Facebook Inc. thus wants Federal Trade Commission Chair Lina Khan to be recused from participating in decisions about the agency’s monopoly lawsuit against the company, saying her past criticism of Facebook means she’s biased. The request stems from Facebook’s citation of Ms Khan’s barred from any involvement in the antitrust case, citing her academic writings and her work on a House committee that investigated tech companies, including Facebook.

The FTC had rejected a recusal petition submitted by Facebook prior to the current action, stating that the business enjoyed sufficient constitutional due-process protections since the FTC’s case would be handled by a federal court.

For more information on serving legal papers, contact Undisputed Legal our Process Service department at (800) 774-6922. Representatives are available Monday-Friday 8 am – 8 pm EST.  If you found this article helpful, please consider donating.  Thank you for following our blog, A space dedicated to bringing you news on breaking legal developments, interesting articles for law professionals, and educational material for all. We hope that you enjoy your time on our blog and revisit us!  We also invite you to check out our Frequently Asked Questions About Process Servers.

Sources

1. In a blog post, Facebook Vice President of engineering Santosh Janardhan explained the company’s engineers issued a command that unintentionally disconnected Facebook data centres from the rest of the world.

2. ‘Facebook Explains Error That Caused Global Outage.’ The Guardian, Guardian News and Media, 5 Oct. 2021, https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2021/oct/05/what-caused-facebook-whatsapp-instagram-outage. 

3.‘The company’s leadership knows how to make Facebook and Instagram safer but won’t make the necessary changes because they have put their astronomical profits before people. Congressional action is needed,’ Frances Haugen, the former employee, said at a U.S. Senate hearing

4. Roberts, Molly. ‘Opinion | What the Facebook Blackout Taught Us.’ The Washington Post, WP Company, 5 Oct. 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2021/10/05/what-facebook-blackout-taught-us/. 

5. Mac, Ryan. ‘Who Is Frances Haugen, the Facebook Whistle-Blower?’ The New York Times, The New York Times, 5 Oct. 2021, https://www.nytimes.com/2021/10/05/technology/who-is-frances-haugen.html. 

6. ‘The company’s leadership knows ways to make Facebook and Instagram safer and won’t make the necessary changes because they have put their immense profits before people. Congressional action is needed,’ she will say. ‘As long as Facebook is operating in the dark, it is accountable to no one. And it will continue to make choices that go against the common good.’

7. ‘This inability to see into the actual systems of Facebook and confirm that Facebook’s systems work as they say is like the Department of Transportation regulating cars by watching them drive down the highway,’ her testimony says. ‘Imagine if no regulator could ride in a car, pump up its wheels, crash test a car, or even know that seat belts could exist

8. She added, ‘Facebook wants you to believe that the problems we are talking about are unsolvable. They want you to believe in false choices. They want you to believe that you must choose between a Facebook full of divisive and extreme content or losing one of the most important values our country was founded upon, free speech. . . . That to be able to share fun photos of your kids with old friends you must also be inundated with anger-driven virality. They want you to believe that this is just part of the deal. I am here today to tell you that that’s not true.’

9. New York Democratic Attorney General Letitia James announced the state’s lawsuit, which includes the District of Columbia and Guam. It was also filed in Washington, D.C.

10. ‘FTC Sues Facebook for Illegal Monopolization.’ Federal Trade Commission, 18 Mar. 2021, https://www.ftc.gov/news-events/press-releases/2020/12/ftc-sues-facebook-illegal-monopolization. 

11. The Clayton Antitrust Act of 1914 (Pub.L. 63–212, 38 Stat. 730, enacted October 15, 1914, codified at 15 U.S.C. §§ 12–27, 29 U.S.C. §§ 52–53), is a part of United States antitrust law with the goal of adding further substance to the U.S. antitrust law regime; the Clayton Act seeks to prevent anti-competitive practices in their incipiency.

12. The Sherman Antitrust Act of 1890 (26 Stat. 209, 15 U.S.C. §§ 1–7) is a United States antitrust law that prescribes the rule of free competition among those engaged in commerce.

13. Lerman, Rachel. ‘Analysis | the Technology 202: Congress Takes Aim at Antitrust Legislation Designed to Reel in Big Tech.’ The Washington Post, WP Company, 24 June 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2021/06/24/technology-202-congress-takes-aim-antitrust-legislation-designed-reel-big-tech/. 

14. ‘Takeaways from the Latest Proposed Competition Legislation.’ Law360, https://www.law360.com/consumerprotection/articles/1428001/takeaways-from-the-latest-proposed-competition-legislation.

15. Bloomberg.com, Bloomberg, https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2021-07-14/facebook-wants-ftc-chair-khan-recused-from-antitrust-case.

16. Ms. Khan shouldn’t have taken part in the second case, according to the business, and it should be rejected for that reason.

HOW TO SERVE LEGAL PAPERS ON THE DEPARTMENT OF CONSUMER AND REGULATORY AFFAIRS

Department of Regulatory Affairs

Undisputed Legal | District of Columbia Process Service 

The District of Columbia Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs is the organization responsible for issuing licenses and permits on behalf of the local government. The District of Columbia Council is in charge of overseeing its operations, which are delegated to a director chosen by the mayor, which seems to be the case with other DC cabinet-style directorates and agencies.

This department is tasked with safeguarding residents’ health, safety, economic interests as well as the quality of life by issuing licenses, inspecting buildings to ensure they meet safety standards, enforcing building and housing codes, and managing land use and development in the District of Columbia. The DCRA also provides consumer education and advocacy services.

BACKGROUND

DCRA is the regulatory body for the District of Columbia. Building inspections and regulations are overseen by DCRA, which licenses professionals and companies, as well as inspects and controls construction and housing activity. With respect to the District’s commercial operations, DCRA controls the use of land and buildings for various purposes. Consequently, the organization also supervises historic preservation enforcement, rental housing, and real estate, and occupational and professional behavior. When companies or individuals break District laws, the Department takes legal action. It also attempts to educate the public about unlawful, misleading, and unfair commercial practices to help prevent them from happening.

The District of Columbia Regulatory Authority (DCRA) protects residents, businesses, and visitors’ economic and quality of life interests by issuing permits, inspecting, and enforcing building and safety codes; it also oversees land use and development regulations, as well as providing consumer education and advocacy services.

DCRA is divided into the six divisions [A.]  Business and Professional Licensing Administration (BPLA) and is responsible for issuing and enforcing licensing and regulatory implications across these categories [B.] Inspection & Compliance which conducts Construction Inspections, Housing Code & Property Management Inspections, Illegal Construction Investigations and also certifies Third-Party Agencies to conduct construction inspections on the DCRA’s  behalf, [C.] Permit Operations Division responsible for reviewing applications for and issuing Building Permits, Supplemental (Trades) Permits, Certificates of Occupancy, and Home Occupation Permits, [D.] Regulatory Enforcement Administration responsible  to identify and account for unoccupied property, and conduct inspections of residential housing complaints that violate DC Housing code regulation, [E.] Surveyors wherein the Office of the Surveyor maintains the legal records of all land plants and subdivisions of private and District government property within the District of Columbia. The existing records cover a period of more than two centuries and [F.] Zoning Administration reviews applications for conformation with DC Zoning Regulations, under Title 11 DCMR.

The current head of the agency is Ernest Chrappah, who was appointed in November of last year. 

WHAT DOES THE DCRA DO 

The Corporations Division of DCRA is the District of Columbia’s Office of the Corporate Registrar. In the District of Columbia, the Corporations Division registers all companies that do business there, whether they are domestic (based in DC) or international (established outside DC). At the beginning of the regulatory compliance process for a company. In order to get a business license or permit, a company must first register with the District of Columbia as a non-profit organization for purposes of the District of Columbia Process Service.

Users must register with the Superintendent of Corporations Division of the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs via CorpOnline if they want to do business in the District of Columbia as a nonprofit or for-profit corporation, limited liability company, limited partnership, or limited liability partnership in accordance with District of Columbia Process Service.

Users must additionally register the trade name with the Superintendent of Corporations of the Corporations Division of the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs in addition to the corporation’s records itself (or DBA “doing business as”) in order to comply with the District of Columbia Process Service. In order to utilize the trade name, all registered and unregistered organizations must complete the District of Columbia Process Service trade name registration form. This registration is needed for all kinds of organizations that use the trade name (LLCs, companies, etc.) according to the District of Columbia Process Service.

The Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs‘ Superintendent of Corporations Division also serves as the Mayor’s Agent for District of Columbia Process Service for businesses that have failed to maintain an agent for District of Columbia Process Service who is in the District or are currently operating in the District and are in default of their legal obligations.

HOW TO SERVE PROCESS ON THE DCRA

For companies that have ceased to exist or fail to keep a local agent for District of Columbia Process Service or are still in operation, the Corporations Division Program Manager functions as the Mayor’s Agent for Service of Process. Service of Process is a legal procedure in which legal orders, requests, notifications, or other court-related documents are served on a person or entity as per the District of Columbia Process Service.

In accordance with Mayor’s Order 2009-65 of April 24th, 2009, the Superintendent of Corporations at the District of Columbia Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs is authorized to conduct District of Columbia Process Service on behalf of the Mayor. If the registered agent of the domestic or international filing entity is known, then to District of Columbia Process Service should be made on that agency. Non-profit and for-profit corporations as well as limited liability companies, partnerships, and trusts are examples of filing entities. Cooperative associations and statutory trusts are other examples of filing entities that should comply with to District of Columbia Process Service.

In the District of Columbia, to District of Columbia Process Service may be sent or delivered to the DCRA Superintendent of Corporations, who can serve in place of the Registered Agent for any entities that [A.] represented entity failed to appoint or maintain a registered agent in the District; or [B.] represented entity’s registered agent in the District cannot with reasonable diligence be found; [C.] the company is not registered but operating within the District of Columbia.

The Superintendent of Corporations can accept all domestic and foreign filing entities. Serving the Superintendent of Corporations would require [A.] submitting two copies of documents for to District of Columbia Process Service (legal orders, demands, notices, affidavit of service on a corporation, etc.) that have been filed with the court; [B.] completing form GN-6 Service of Process Action Form and [C.] including payment for to District of Columbia Process Service filing.

REQUISITE PROOF OF SERVICE

Once the Superintendent of Corporations has been served, the corporation may request a certificate of service in accordance with the District of Columbia Process Service. However, it is necessary to specifically reach out to the Corporations division in order to confirm that the District of Columbia Process Service has been completed before requesting a certificate of service. This is because the certificate cost is in addition to the fee paid for accepting District of Columbia Process Service and is equal to that fee.

If the District of Columbia Process Service is to be done via mail, the District of Columbia Process Service must be specifically addressed to the Superintendent of Corporations at the Business and Professional Licensing Administration Corporations Division. It is necessary to email a copy of the mail-in District of Columbia Process Service to the specific email address allotted to the Corporations division. However, it is possible for individuals in the Department to accept personal service, although they may be charged the expedited fee for the same-day service. While walk-in service was typically the norm with the Corporation, because of March 2020’s coronavirus outbreak, walk-in service is currently not available.

ACCEPTABLE METHODS OF SERVICE OF PROCESS

Service of the Complaint and Summons must be completed according to the requirements of Rule 4 of the Superior Court Rules of  Civil  Procedure.        

District of Columbia Process Service upon an individual must be done by any person who is not a party to the lawsuit and is at least eighteen years old by delivering a copy of the Complaint and Summons to the Defendant personally. It may also be done by leaving a  copy of the  Complaint and  Summons at the  Defendant’s house or place residence with a  person of suitable age and discretion who is currently residing in the Defendant’s house or residence.  Any person who is not a party to the lawsuit and is at least eighteen years old may deliver a copy of the Complaint and Summons to an agent authorized by appointment or by law to receive service of process for the Defendant. 

For District of Columbia Process Service upon corporations and associations, District of Columbia Process Service can be done by any person who is not a party to the lawsuit and is at least eighteen years old by delivering a copy of the Complaint and  Summons to an officer or a  managing or general agent of the  Defendant corporation or business entity,  or any other agent authorized by appointment or by law to receive  District of Columbia Process Service.    

This may also be achieved by mailing a  copy of the  Complaint and  Summons by registered or certified mail,  return receipt requested to an officer or a managing or general agent of the Defendant corporation or business entity, or any other agent authorized by appointment or by law to receive  District of Columbia Process Service.    

District of Columbia Process Service may also be achieved by delivering  two  copies  of  the  Complaint  and  Summons  to  the  Superintendent  of  Corporations  at  the  District  of  Columbia  Department  of  Consumer  and  Regulatory  Affairs  after  a  diligent  effort  has  been  made  to  serve  the  Defendant  and  investigation  has  revealed  that  [A.]  the  attempt  to  serve  the  registered  agent  on  record  is  unsuccessful  (mail  returned,  etc.),   [B.] the  organization’s  status  is  revoked,  [C.] the  registered agent has resigned and no new agent was appointed, or [D.] the company is not registered but operating  within  the  District  of  Columbia

A corporation or other business entity (LLC, LLP, partnership, etc) conducting business in the District of Columbia should have a  registered agent who is responsible for accepting  District of Columbia Process Service for Defendant.    If Defendant has a registered agent on record, that agent should be served with the Complaint and Summons. However, in absence of this registered agent, the Superintendent takes up this role.

Service Upon the District of Columbia itself may be done by providing service upon an officer or agency, or other government entities. Process service can be done any person who is not a party to the lawsuit and is at least eighteen years old by delivering a copy of the Complaint and  Summons to the  Mayor of the  District of  Columbia  (or designee)  and the  Corporation  Counsel of the  District of  Columbia  (or designee).    The  Mayor and  Corporation  Counsel may each designate an employee for receipt of  District of Columbia Process Service by filing a  written notice with the  Clerk of the  Court.   

Individuals may also contact the DCRA at their telephonic address or their website. If a corporation or business entity (LLC, LLP, Partnership, etc.) conducting business in the District of Columbia fails to maintain a  registered agent of the corporation is not registered with  DCRA,  then the individual may complete  District of Columbia Process Service by serving the Superintendent of Corporations. 

The Superintendent of Corporations will accept District of Columbia Process Service if a diligent effort has been made to serve the Defendant and investigation has revealed that (the attempt to serve the registered agent on record is unsuccessful (mail returned, etc.), or the organization’s status has been revoked, the registered agent has resigned and no new agent was appointed, or the company is not registered but operating within the District of Columbia.  

For more information on serving legal papers, contact Undisputed Legal our District of Columbia Process Service department at (800) 774-6922. Representatives are available Monday-Friday 8 am – 8 pm EST.  If you found this article helpful, please consider donating.  Thank you for following our blog, A space dedicated to bringing you news on breaking legal developments, interesting articles for law professionals, and educational material for all. We hope that you enjoy your time on our blog and revisit us!  We also invite you to check out our Frequently Asked Questions About Process Servers.

Sources

1. BPLA consist of eight (8) divisions: Business Licensing, Corporations, Consumer Protection, Professional Licensing, Regulatory Investigations, Small Business Resource Center, Vending & Special Events, and Weights & Measures

2. D.C. Mun. Regs. tit. 11 § 3100 3100.1

The Board of Zoning Adjustment shall have original jurisdiction to grant variances under § 3103 and special exceptions under § 3104, and to exercise all other powers authorized by the Zoning Act of 1938, approved June 20, 1938 (52 Stat. 797, as amended, D.C. Official Code §§ 6-641.01 to 6-641.15 (formerly codified at D.C. Code §§ 5-413 to 5-432 (1994 Repl. & 1999 Supp.))) (the ‘Zoning Act’).

3100.2

The Board, pursuant to the Zoning Act, shall also hear and decide appeals where it is alleged by the appellant that there is an error in any order, requirement, decision, determination, or refusal made by any administrative officer or body, including the Mayor, in the administration or enforcement of the Zoning Regulations, Title 11 DCMR

3. The last permanent head of the agency was Melinda Bolling. She has previously worked as an interim director as well as general counsel for the organization. Rabbiah Sabbakhan served as an acting director prior to Ms. Bolling’s arrival. Former DCRA director Nicholas A. Majett, a Washington lawyer and civil servant, served as the department’s deputy director from 2006 until 2010 when Rabbiah Sabbakhan took over.

4. The DCRA issues or maintains the following:

Building permits

Zoning regulations/certificates of occupancy

Construction codes

Corporate registration

Business licensing

Professional licensing

Construction inspections

Housing Code inspections

Vacant property regulation

5.‘Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs.’ DCRA, https://corponline.dcra.dc.gov/Home.aspx/Landing.

6. ‘Service of Process – Definition: DCBC.’ Service of Process – Definition | DCBC, https://business.dc.gov/definition/1382. 

7. Service of Process Action Form.Form GN-6, Version 3, November 2014. This form can only be used to serve the defendant –domestic or foreign filing entity if a plaintiff or his representative have exhausted all the means to serve domestic or foreign filing entity as prescribed under D.C. Code § 29-104.12

8. Mail

Superintendent of Corporations,

Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs
Business and Professional Licensing Administration
Corporations Division
Wells Fargo Bank
7175 Columbia Gateway Drive
Lockbox # 92300
Columbia, MD 21046

9. It is necessary to email a copy of the mail-in service of process to the following email box – dcra.corp@dc.gov.

10. DCRA Service Hours

Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday: 8:30 am – 4:30 pm
Thursday: 9:30 am – 4:30 pm

Payment Information

When filing by mail, checks must be made payable to ‘DC Treasurer’. For walk-in customers, payment can be made by cash, Visa/Master Card, check, or money order.

11. Walk-In (Not Available as of March 2020)

Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs
Corporations Division
Business License Center
1100 4th Street, SW
2nd Floor
Washington, DC 20024

12. Rule 4. Summons

(c) Service.

(1) In General. A summons must be served with a copy of the complaint. The plaintiff is responsible for having the summons and complaint served within the time allowed by Rule 4(m) and must furnish the necessary copies to the person who makes service.

(2) By Whom. Any person who is at least 18 years old and not a party may serve a summons and complaint.

(3) By a Marshal or Someone Specially Appointed. At the plaintiff’s request, the court may order that service be made by a United States marshal or deputy marshal or by a person specially appointed by the court. The court must so order if the plaintiff is authorized to proceed in forma pauperis under 28 U.S.C. §1915 or as a seaman under 28 U.S.C. §1916.

(d) Waiving Service.

(1) Requesting a Waiver. An individual, corporation, or association that is subject to service under Rule 4(e)(f), or (h) has a duty to avoid unnecessary expenses of serving the summons. The plaintiff may notify such a defendant that an action has been commenced and request that the defendant waive service of a summons. The notice and request must:

(A) be in writing and be addressed:

(i) to the individual defendant; or

(ii) for a defendant subject to service under Rule 4(h), to an officer, a managing or general agent, or any other agent authorized by appointment or by law to receive service of process;

(B) name the court where the complaint was filed;

(C) be accompanied by a copy of the complaint, 2 copies of the waiver form appended to this Rule 4, and a prepaid means for returning the form;

(D) inform the defendant, using the form appended to this Rule 4, of the consequences of waiving and not waiving service;

(E) state the date when the request is sent;

(F) give the defendant a reasonable time of at least 30 days after the request was sent—or at least 60 days if sent to the defendant outside any judicial district of the United States—to return the waiver; and

(G) be sent by first-class mail or other reliable means.

(2) Failure to Waive. If a defendant located within the United States fails, without good cause, to sign and return a waiver requested by a plaintiff located within the United States, the court must impose on the defendant:

(A) the expenses later incurred in making service; and

(B) the reasonable expenses, including attorney’s fees, of any motion required to collect those service expenses.

(3) Time to Answer After a Waiver. A defendant who, before being served with process, timely returns a waiver need not serve an answer to the complaint until 60 days after the request was sent—or until 90 days after it was sent to the defendant outside any judicial district of the United States.

(4) Results of Filing a Waiver. When the plaintiff files a waiver, proof of service is not required, and these rules 

13. By mailing a  copy of the  Complaint and  Summons to Defendant by registered or certified mail,  return receipt requested.  

By mailing a copy of the Complaint and Summons by first-class mail, postage prepaid, to the Defendant, together  with  two  copies  of  a  Notice  and  Acknowledgment    Form  1-A  and  a  return  envelope,  postage  prepaid, addressed to the sender

14. Service may also be done By mailing a copy of the Complaint and Summons by first-class mail, postage prepaid, together with two copies of a Notice and Acknowledgment – Form 1-A and a return envelope, postage prepaid, addressed to the sender to an officer or a managing or general agent of the Defendant corporation or business entity, or any other agent authorized by appointment or by law to receive service of process.

15. DCRA may be contacted at (202) 442-4400

16. www.dcra.dc.gov.  

EMERGENCY ARBITRATION: WHEN DOES IT COME INTO PLAY

Arbitration

Undisputed Legal | Process Service

Because of the novel coronavirus pandemic’s backlogs and budget cutbacks, parties will progressively resort to arbitration as a dispute resolution method of choice. Numerous business issues are settled via commercial arbitration.

Many of the most prestigious arbitral organizations have recently updated their rules to better meet the demands of their clients. The establishment of emergency arbitrator proceedings has been a significant advance, allowing parties to seek immediate relief before the substantive panel is constituted. Parties and arbitrators are paying close attention to these new procedures, and with good cause.

RECENT TRENDS IN ARBITRATION

Recent Trends in arbitration include expedited Arbitration. There has been an increase in the use of expedited arbitration, which has resulted in amendments to institutional rules to incorporate provisions governing expedited proceedings. This includes the recent introduction of the [A.] revised International Centre for Dispute Resolution (ICDR)/American Arbitration Association (AAA) rules wherein the parties initiated seventy-five international expedited cases at the ICDR in 2020; [B.] revised International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) rules and [C.] International Institute for Conflict Prevention and Resolution (CPR) which provided Fast Track Rules for Administered Arbitration. Many courts, tribunals, and organizations are choosing virtual hearings over delaying cases in response to COVID-19 and government health restrictions. The use of digital technologies has also grown in popularity.

Summary Adjudication has also been incorporated in arbitration increasingly. The number of petitions for summary adjudication of claims or defenses that have no basis is rising steadily. Many revised institutional norms provide explicit and implicit provisions for summary adjudication. Arbitral tribunals with the competence of summary decision are recognized by the ICC, the ICDR/AAA, the Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC), and the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce (SCC).

Parties are also increasingly using emergency arbitration proceedings, under which an emergency arbitrator is appointed before the constitution of a tribunal. The ICC has administered close to a hundred and fifty emergency cases since the emergency arbitration provisions came into force in 2012.

Though arbitration has been growing in vitality across the nation, a major reason for strengthened arbitration is Court Intervention. In order to force the provision of information by third parties, parties often turn to US domestic courts. The united states code gives federal district courts the authority to compel discovery in support of an international court or body. Appellate courts in the United States are divided on whether 28 U.S.C. 1782 applies to private arbitral tribunals, and the Supreme Court of the United States has just decided to address this question. In certain cases, US courts step in to aid arbitration procedures.

Before the arbitral panel is appointed, a party may seek injunctive relief from a court to preserve the status quo (for example, to prevent the termination of a contract before the tribunal is constituted). The court looks to see whether the usual conditions for issuing injunctive relief are met. One may even request the appointment of an emergency arbiter to keep things as they are.

Pro-tem or conservatory procedures are provided to parties who cannot wait for the establishment of an Arbitral Tribunal under emergency arbitration. There is a real likelihood that the requesting party will succeed on merits if an Emergency Arbitration is invoked under the considerations of [A.] fumus boni iuris which is a reasonable possibility that the measure is granted immediately, and [B.] periculum in mora wherein the loss would not be compensated by damages if it is not granted immediately.

WHEN AN EMERGENCY ARBITRATION BE GRANTED

Interim measures or conservatory relief may only be granted for a limited time under an Emergency Arbitration. For all intents and purposes, it performs similar, if not identical, duties to an ad hoc tribunal, which is formed for a specific reason and promptly disbanded once that goal is fulfilled or the time period allotted for the resolution of such problems expires. For the most part, national arbitration rules include an ‘opt-out’ policy for emergency situations, which implies that these provisions only don’t apply in full if the parties explicitly agree to omit ‘Emergency Arbitrator Provisions.

The term ‘Emergency Arbitrator’ refers to an arbitrator appointed specifically for emergency arbitration. After the Interim Order is issued, the Emergency Arbitrator is rendered functus officio. Emergency arbitration is a mechanism that ‘allows a disputing party to apply for urgent interim relief before an arbitration tribunal has been formally constituted’.1

If an arbitral tribunal is not yet in existence or if it would take too much time to put one up because of the requirements of an arbitration agreement or institutional regulations, Emergency Arbitration may play a critical role. Many additional flaws in the system make Emergency Arbitration seem like a good idea, including a lack of trust in the national courts to provide immediate relief, leaking of private information, and exorbitant litigation costs. The following are only two of the numerous steps that must be taken as soon as a party chooses to seek the remedy of equitable adjustment:

Documentation proving service of the application on the opposing party is required. In accordance with the agreed-upon fee structure, with the implied assumption that the application of Emergency Arbitration would be restricted to signatories to the Arbitration agreement or their successors, fees will be paid.

APPLICABILITY OF EMERGENCY ARBITRATION

When a dispute occurs, many parties examine whether or not they may seek urgent interim relief in order to maintain the status quo or to prevent the other party from continuing the infringement in issue until the dispute is finally resolved. Interim relief may be obtained in arbitration via a variety of different routes.

Most countries allow courts to provide temporary relief in support of arbitration agreements. If a party must seek interim relief in open court, some of the advantages of arbitration, including confidentiality and efficiency, could be compromised. The arbitral procedure may be preferred by certain parties because of this. As with a court, a tribunal constituted once will have broad authority to provide temporary relief.  If one side is recalcitrant or raises objections to the proposed arbitrators, the selection of the substantive tribunal may take months.

Therefore, several prestigious arbitral institutions have developed processes for appointing an emergency arbitrator in order to bridge this gap by enabling parties to receive immediate arbitral relief before a formal court is constituted in times of crisis. For temporary relief petitions that absolutely can not wait for the establishment of a substantive tribunal, the arbitral institution will appoint an emergency arbitrator at an accelerated pace.

ENFORCEABILITY OF EMERGENCY ARBITRATION

As a general rule, arbitral rules governing emergency arbitrators state that their judgments are temporary in nature, meaning the substantive tribunal may subsequently modify or suspend them. Interim measures may lapse automatically after a specific length of time in certain cases.

A preliminary order, a procedural order, a directive, or an interim or partial award may be issued by an emergency arbitrator (and arbitral tribunal) based on the relevant arbitral rules and legislation. To circumvent the ICC’s ‘scrutiny’ procedure for awards, the ICC mandates that emergency arbitrator judgments take the form of an order. This avoids delaying the issuing of an emergency decision. The SCC and ICDR regulations, on the other hand, allow for a decision to be made in the form of an order or an award.

The enforceability of the temporary remedies has been questioned notwithstanding the desire and apparent need for them. Interim binding relief raises important issues, as does the fact that emergency arbitrator judgments are made by someone other than the substantive tribunal in emergency situations. Another factor to consider is whether or not arbitrator temporary relief is issued in the form of an order rather than a decision.

In spite of the fact that several arbitral institutions have adopted emergency arbitration rules in commercial arbitration, such as the ICC Rules (2017 and 2021), the LCIA Rules (2014 and 2020), and the HKIAC Rules (2018), the spread of such a mechanism to investment arbitration is still a bit of a mystery at this point. An emergency arbitrator is not provided for, for example, by either the ICSID or UNCITRAL Arbitration Rules.

[4.1] APPLICABILITY UNDER DIFFERENT RULES

The SCC Rules (2017), the SIAC Investment Rules (2017), and the CIETAC International Investment Arbitration Rules (2017) all include procedures for the appointment of an emergency arbitrator that are applicable to investment arbitration proceedings, notwithstanding this.

The procedure to be followed under these three sets of rules is broadly similar. The appointment of an emergency arbitrator follows the filing, by the requesting party, of a written request to that end to the arbitral institution. International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) allows for a party to seek the appointment of an emergency arbitrator under Article 29 of the ICC Rules of Arbitration.  Under this article, a party that needs ‘urgent interim or conservatory measures that cannot await the constitution of an arbitral tribunal may apply to the ICC Secretariat for the appointment of an emergency arbitrator under the procedures of the rules.

The ICC will terminate the emergency arbitrator procedures if a Request for Arbitration is not submitted within ten days of the emergency arbitrator request, although a party can submit before a Request for Arbitration is filed. It is anticipated that once the emergency arbitrator is chosen, they will then deliver a judgment within days or weeks at the latest. Also, the lex arbitri should be taken into account while determining the authority of an emergency arbitrator.

In assessing whether the emergency relief sought should be granted, emergency arbitrators appointed under the SCC Rules have referred to specific criteria like [A.] the prima facie jurisdiction of the tribunal; [B.] the prima facie case on the merits; [C.]  the risk of irreparable or imminent harm; [D.] urgency; [E.] the proportionality of the measures sought. In fact, some tribunals have also discussed the necessity of the measures sought

The standard for awarding interim relief is raised when the emergency arbitrator is asked to deal with the host State’s actions linked to its sovereign power, such as when taking tax measures. The decision of an emergency decision is binding on the parties. However, this decision can be amended or revoked at the request of a party by the emergency arbitrator itself, or by the arbitral tribunal once appointed.

ARBITRATION RULES THAT HAVE NOT INCORPORATED EMERGENCY ARBITRATION

The United Nations Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards of 1958 (the New York Convention) and the applicable domestic arbitration laws, many of which are based on the UNCITRAL Model Law on International Commercial Arbitration, are the key enforcement mechanisms in international commercial arbitrations (the Model Law).

The New York Convention is deafeningly quiet on the issue of interim awards and orders issued by arbitrators. It seems that only ‘awards’ are covered by the agreement, excluding arbitration orders of any kind, whether interim or final. Furthermore, there is no definition of ‘award,’ although in many jurisdictions finality is regarded an important feature of an award — not least because the convention stipulates that a party may oppose the execution of an award on the grounds that it is not yet ‘binding.’ In this way, the enforcement of interim-binding orders and awards is called into doubt.

Although the New York Convention does not explicitly address interim remedies, the original Model Law gives tribunals the authority to impose such measures. National courts will have exclusive discretion on whether or not to offer help in enforcing these regulations. To address issues such as arbitrator interim measures, the Model Law has been revised many times since 2006. Tribunals may now give interim remedies in both award and ‘another form,’ with such measures having the same legal force and effect as any other award under the revised Model Law. Aside from that, an order issued as a preliminary order will not be enforced by a court even if it is binding on the parties (and does not constitute an award).

Clarity has been added to the Model Law as a result of the revisions. However, not all problems are completely resolved. Because it fails to define ‘arbitral tribunal,’ it raises the issue of whether an emergency arbitrator is included. It is also essential to note that the 2006 changes were not generally embraced. The enforceability of emergency arbitrator remedy is not explicitly addressed in many domestic arbitration rules, which is unfortunate.

Because of this, domestic courts must decide whether an emergency arbitrator’s judgment, whether it’s in the form of an award or an order, is enforceable unless explicit provisions are made.

HOW COURTS ADDRESS INTERIM ARBITRATION REMEDIES

The way domestic courts have approached this issue varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. Some courts have determined that arbitrator interim remedies are enforceable as awards when they ultimately resolve specific problems. It has been ruled that arbitrator interim measures in the United States are enforceable as an award when the judgment that contains them resolves a self-contained problem definitively.

In certain cases, courts may enforce arbitration orders and judgments by looking at the content of the measure rather than its form. Also, whether the emergency arbitrator-granted interim remedy is enforceable in the same way as interim relief issued by the substantive tribunal is a current matter. When it comes to emergency arbitrator judgments and interim measures issued by a substantive arbitral tribunal, US courts have usually taken the equivalent stance. However, this is not the case across the board. Treating interim measures as an award, as the Swiss Federal Tribunal has, is ‘dangerous,’ according to the court.

Of course, not all temporary remedies will ‘eventually’ settle a disagreement. Even in jurisdictions that are known to be pro-enforcement, this uncertainty lingers. Worse, there are just not enough court precedents to accurately anticipate how emergency arbitrator rulings will be handled in many countries.

Due to the present worldwide patchwork approach, arbitral courts’ interim remedies remain unclear and unevenly enforced. Questions about the enforceability of arbitrator interim remedies will continue until additional procedures to enforce emergency arbitrator judgments are brought before courts or until lawmakers decide to deal with the problem in domestic legislation.

Uncertainty about enforcement is a critical factor for customers to think about before turning to an emergency arbitrator or a court for help. Obtaining local legal counsel from the jurisdictions where enforcement will be sought is essential before making a decision.

For more information on serving legal papers, contact Undisputed Legal our Process Service department at (800) 774-6922. Representatives are available Monday-Friday 8 am – 8 pm EST.  If you found this article helpful, please consider donating.  Thank you for following our blog, A space dedicated to bringing you news on breaking legal developments, interesting articles for law professionals, and educational material for all. We hope that you enjoy your time on our blog and revisit us!  We also invite you to check out our Frequently Asked Questions About Process Servers.

Sources

1. These sectors have the most caseloads of any other: building and infrastructure; financial services; healthcare; life sciences; information and communications technology; insurance; aviation/aerospace; media; and real estate.

2. The American Arbitration Association (AAA) is a not-for-profit organization in the field of alternative dispute resolution, providing services to individuals and organizations who wish to resolve conflicts out of court, and one of several arbitration organizations that administers arbitration proceedings. The AAA also administers mediation through www.AAAMediation.org and other forms of alternative dispute resolution. It is headquartered in New York City, with regional offices in Atlanta, Boston, Charlotte, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, East Providence, Rhode Island, Fresno, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis, New York City, Philadelphia, Phoenix, San Antonio, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle, Somerset, New Jersey and Washington, DC.

The International Centre for Dispute Resolution (ICDR), established in 1996 by the AAA, administers international arbitration proceedings initiated under the institution’s rules. ICDR currently (as of 2018) has offices in New York City, Mexico City, Singapore, and Bahrain.

3. Parties initiated 101 expedited arbitrations at the ICC in 2020, compared to 15 in 2017.

4. ‘Fast Track Administered Arbitration Rules.’ CPR International Institute for Conflict Prevention & Resolution, https://www.cpradr.org/resource-center/rules/arbitration/fast-track-administered-arbitration-rules.

5.  In 2020, parties brought 32 emergency arbitration proceedings at the ICC, and 23 of these proceedings had a US place of arbitration. 13 of these cases were in New York. As of 31 December 2020, parties had brought 119 emergency arbitration proceedings at the ICDR and AAA, including 85 applications under the ICDR International Rules and 32 applications under the AAA Commercial Arbitration Rules

6. 28 U.S. Code § 1782 – Assistance to foreign and international tribunals and to litigants before such tribunals

7. McCreary & Tire & Rubber Co. v. CEAT S.p.A 501 F 2d (3d Cir. 1974)).

8. The ICC, the ICDR, the SIAC, the SCC, and the LCIA are among the arbitral institutions that have implemented emergency arbitrator procedures.

9. ICC adopted its own version – Article 29 and Appendix V (together, the ‘EA Provisions’) – as part of the 2012 revision of the ICC Arbitration Rules.

10. Article 29 applies to any agreement for ICC arbitration concluded on or after January 1, 2012, unless the parties expressly ‘opt-out of Article 29.

11. As enumerated in Appendix V of the Rules, 

12. Island Creek Coal Sales Company v City of Gainesville Florida (1985), 729 F2d 1046, U.S.C.A., 6th Circuit

13. Yahoo! v Microsoft Corporation, 983 F. Supp. 2d 310 (S.D.N.Y. 2013

14. Judgment of April 13, 2010, DFT 136 III 200

HOW TO SERVE LEGAL PAPERS ON HOME DEPOT

Home Depot

Undisputed Legal | Georgia Process Service

The Home Depot, Inc., or simply Home Depot, is the nation’s biggest home improvement store, offering tools, building supplies, and consulting. The business is based in Cobb County, Georgia, with a postal address in Atlanta.

It runs many big-box format shops throughout the United States. The Home Depot also owns the MRO business Interline Brands (The Home Depot Pro), which has seventy distribution facilities across the United States.

BACKGROUND

Bernard Marcus, Arthur Blank, Ron Brill, and Pat Farrah co-founded The Home Depot in 1978. The Home Depot’s pitch was to construct home improvement superstores that would dwarf those of its rivals. Ken Langone, an investment banker, assisted Marcus and Blank in securing the required money.

Despite its higher market capitalization, The Home Depot, Inc. is a more recent entry to the market than competitor Lowe’s. Lowe’s and Home Depot were established in 1946 and 1978, respectively.  As of March 2020, Home Depot operated in over two thousand locations across the United States, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the United States Virgin Islands, Guam, Canada, and Mexico.  Home Depot shuttered its last seven remaining big-box shops in China in 2012 after a failed growth effort.

One of Home Depot’s management objectives is to continue modernizing the company’s supply chain. For most of its existence, Home Depot has been known to lag behind its primary competitor in terms of supply chain efficiency, depending heavily on a decentralized supply chain in which vendors delivered goods directly to Home Depot shops. While this decentralized method offered certain benefits, it also had major disadvantages, such as the need to transport relatively tiny quantities of goods using big vehicles. However, in 2007, Home Depot embarked on a modernization initiative, which included the establishment of a consolidated network of distribution facilities.

Home Depot proposed an ambitious one billion dollar investment in January 2020 to enhance distribution management by constructing large distribution facilities throughout the United States. The business believes that this new kind of distribution facility, dubbed a Flatbed Distribution Center (FDC), would improve the speed with which construction and building supplies are delivered directly to the client. Home Depot expects that same-day and next-day delivery will be available to ninety percent of its customers in the United States. The firm plans to build an 800,000-square-foot Flatbed Distribution Center in Dallas in 2020 and 40 more Flatbed Distribution Centres in its forty biggest cities over the next several years.

HOME DEPOT’S ONLINE SUCCESS

While the majority of customers are familiar with Home Depot’s bright orange logo and sprawling, warehouse-style shops, the world’s largest home improvement company also deserves credit for its digital advancements. While this development did not get the same level of attention as Amazon’s, the numbers speak for themselves: during the last six years, Home Depot’s digital sales grew by an astounding 762 percent. Amazon’s goods sales increased by 490 percent in the same North American market over the same time.

In order to be so successful, Home Depot has relied on two key factors: [A.] design and implementing an online and in-store omnichannel approach and [B.] advancement and commitment in the online shopping experience to make it more user-friendly

As a result of this, Home Depot now utilizes its shops as both warehouses for online inventory and pick-up locations for online purchases. To put this into practice, a re-engineering of systems was needed to guarantee that inventories could be controlled throughout the whole company. There were also modifications to management and operations at the store level, such as a reevaluation of stock needs and the allocation of additional storage space for online purchases.

In the present day, Home Depot collects half of its online purchases in-store and returns most of them in-store. In fact, many of the company’s online transactions would still not happen if it did not have a connection to a brick-and-mortar location.

Some Home Depot stores now provide a 2- to the 4-hour delivery window for online purchases, including heavy items like timber or construction supplies, for customers who never want to visit a real store. Non-specialist home improvement shops will not be able to adequately duplicate this service.

THE HOME DEPOT PRODUCT AUTHORITY LLC

The Home Depot Product Authority LLC is a domestic Limited liability company active in Georgia.  The entity retains its principal office address in Atlanta, Georgia. The entity was formed on 2nd December 2002.  Under Georgia law, an LLC name must either contain ‘Limited Liability Company,’ ‘LLC,’ ‘L.L.C.,’ ‘Limited Company,’ ‘LC,’ or ‘L.C.‘ for purposes of Georgia Process Service. The name of the LLC must be distinguishable from the names of other business organizations on file with the Georgia Secretary of State Corporations Division. The entity should verify the availability of names by doing a search on the Corporations Division’s company name database. For a period of thirty days, the entity may reserve a name online or by submitting a Name Reservation Request form according to Georgia Process Service specifications. A twenty-five-dollar reservation fee is required.

Interestingly enough, it is not necessary to use the LLC’s official legal name registered in its Articles of Organization. Instead, most entities often prefer a fictitious business name, also called a trading name, ‘DBA’ (short for doing business as), or assumed name to conduct Georgia Process Service under. To do so in Georgia, it is necessary to register the fictitious name with the Clerk of the Superior Court of the county where the LLC’s principal office is located. It is the responsibility of the entity to cross-check the appropriate clerk’s office at the Georgia Superior Court Clerks’ Cooperative Authority website to complete Georgia Process Service requirements.

The Home Depot Product Authority LLC retains CSC of Cobb County, Inc as a registered agent for Georgia Process Service. A registered agent in Georgia is a person or company that accepts legal documents and Georgia Process Service for a business entity. A business entity is an entity separate from the owners of the entity or the person or people who operate it for purposes of Georgia Process Service.

HOME DEPOT SERVICE MASTERS, INC.

Home Depot Service Masters, Inc. is a Georgia Domestic Profit Corporation currently active in the business of construction. The entity has been classified as a residential remodeler for purposes of Georgia Process Service after its formation on 28th November 2016. 

The principal office for Home Depot Service Masters, Inc. is in Roswell, Georgia, wherein the registered agent for Georgia Process Service,  Paris Keierleber, S accepts the Georgia Process Service.  However, Georgia Process Service can also be accepted by a higher officer in the office. 

HOME DEPOT STORE SUPPORT, INC.

Home Depot Store Support, Inc. is a foreign profit corporation currently active in Georgia that adheres to Georgia Process Service standards. The entity was formed on 19th October 2011  and retains its office in Atlanta. Although the principal office address for purposes of Georgia Process Service is in Atlanta, Georgia, the jurisdiction of the entity is presented in Delaware. Within ninety days of incorporation, each Georgia corporation must file an initial annual registration that lists three principal officers with the Secretary of State. The fee is fifty dollars for for-profit and professional corporations, and thirty dollars for nonprofit corporations. Corporations that form between October 2nd and December 31st  must file the initial annual registration between January 1 and April 1 of the next calendar year to satisfy Georgia Process Service specifications.  If this is not done, the corporation will be administratively dissolved for failure to file this annual registration. The company may then file an annual registration for a period up to and including three calendar years in advance.

Home Depot Store support retains CSC of Cobb County, Inc as a registered agent for Georgia Process Service. The registered agent for Georgia Process Service should retain an address in Georgia. In this case, CSC is present in cook county. However, Georgia Process Service may also be accepted by the CEO or the Secretary of the company. 

HOME DEPOT U.S.A., INC

Home Depot USA Inc is a foreign profit corporation that is currently active in Georgia. The entity was formed on 11th August 1989. Despite the principal office being in Georgia, the entity comes under Delaware jurisdiction for purposes of Georgia Process Service.  Each foreign corporation authorized to transact business in this state must continuously maintain a registered office that may be the same as any of its places of business. Additionally, they must retain a registered agent to accept Georgia Process Service, who may be: [A.] an individual who resides in this state and whose business office is identical with the registered office and [B.] a domestic corporation or domestic business corporation whose business office is identical with the registered office; or [C.] foreign corporation or foreign business corporation authorized to transact business in this state whose business office is identical with the registered office.

The entity retains CSC of Cobb County as a registered agent for Georgia Process Service. The registered agent of a foreign corporation authorized to transact business in Georgia is the corporation’s agent for service of any process, notice, or demand required or permitted by law to be served on the foreign corporation. If a foreign corporation has no registered agent, the corporation may be served Georgia Process Service by registered or certified mail or statutory overnight delivery, return receipt requested, addressed to the chief executive officer, chief financial officer, or secretary of the foreign corporation, or a person holding a position comparable to any of the foregoing, at its principal office shown in the later of its application for a certificate of authority or its most recent annual registration.

Any party that serves a foreign corporation should also serve a copy of the Georgia Process Service upon the Secretary of State and pay a ten-dollar filing fee. Good Georgia Process Service may be said to have been achieved on the date the foreign corporation receives the mail or the date shown on the return receipt, if signed on behalf of the foreign corporation or five days after its deposit in the United States mail, as evidenced by the postmark, if mailed post-paid and correctly addressed.

COMPACT POWER EQUIPMENT INC.

Compact Power Equipment, established by Roger Braswell, rents cranes, excavators, tractors, and trenchers, among other equipment. In 2009, Compact Power Equipment and Home Depot entered into a long-term commercial relationship that started with rentals at over a hundred Home Depot locations across six states.

When Home Depot bought the business in 2017, more than a thousand Home Depot locations in the US and Canada were offering equipment rentals. Home Depot’s professional business clients saw a benefit in services from the acquisition’s expanded products and services.

THE COMPANY STORE

The Company Store, which opened in 1911, offers a wide range of home décor items, such as bedding, blankets, bath towels, and apparel.  In 2017, Home Depot bought Hanover Direct’s The Company Store, but not its five retail sites, which remained with the entity. Home Depot’s online presence was instantly boosted by the acquisition, which also provided significant product development and sourcing skills, allowing the firm to grow into other sectors of the online décor industry.

The Company Store majorly rakes in its sales from its online portal TheCompanyStore.com. The Company Store’s five locations were not acquired as part of the deal, which was completed on December 19.

INTERLINE BRANDS INC.

Wilmar Industries Inc., the predecessor company of Interline Brands, was established in 1978. Professional contractors, facilities maintenance experts, hardware shops, and other customers in the United States, Canada, and Puerto Rico may purchase the company’s goods.

In 2015, Home Depot paid just over a. billion dollars for Interline Brands. A skilled account sales team, fulfillment capabilities, and a large distribution network were thus acquired by Home Depot as part of the purchase, which will benefit professional contractors and maintenance repair companies the most.

Jacksonville-based The Home Depot Pro is now a major wholesale distributor and direct marketer of non-industrial business goods for maintenance, repair, and operations (MRO).  William S. Green created Wilmar Industries in 1978, which later became The Home Depot Pro. Wilmar purchased Barnett in 2000, and the two companies merged to create Interline Brands. After acquiring Sexauer, Trayco, Barnett, the U.S. Lock and Learn Gas Products, Maintenance USA, and Hardware Express, Interline Brands gradually broadened its client base. 

It was announced in 2015 that cleaning products manufacturer Interline Businesses was merging five of its brands into a single entity known as Supplyworks. The Home Depot Pro is the new name for Interline Brands, which was renamed as such in accordance with Georgia Process Service standards in 2018. To better reflect their new brand identities, Interline Brands has rebranded its multifamily, specialty, and institutional divisions as The Home Depot Pro Multifamily, Specialty Trades, and Institutional respectively.

Plumbing items account for almost half of Interline’s revenue, while the company also sells electrical, HVAC, and security hardware products. Its mission is to provide high-quality goods at low rates and deliver them the same day or the following day.  Various channels are used to sell products, including direct sales by national account representatives or field representatives, telephone sales, customer support personnel, direct marketing through flyers and catalogs, ‘pro centers,’ vendor-managed inventories, and Internet-based service.

By going to a shop, customers are able to get professional advice and see the goods in person to determine whether they are a good fit for their requirements. These advantages, on the other hand, maybe overlooked if individuals buy online. Online shopping has the drawback of slow delivery times, particularly for large or difficult-to-ship items. Customers who are doing home improvements frequently need their goods right at the moment, especially if they have an urgent repair or a tight deadline to meet.

So far, Amazon and other retail giants have struggled to make major inroads into the DIY goods market, in part because of the issues listed above. Home Depot, on the other hand, is an exception in the field of home renovation when it comes to shopping online. The company’s development in e-commerce is remarkable, with online sales currently comprising a reasonable portion of overall revenue.

For more information on serving legal papers, contact Undisputed Legal our Georgia Process Service department at (800) 774-6922. Representatives are available Monday-Friday 8 am – 8 pm EST.  If you found this article helpful, please consider donating.  Thank you for following our blog, A space dedicated to bringing you news on breaking legal developments, interesting articles for law professionals, and educational material for all. We hope that you enjoy your time on our blog and revisit us!  We also invite you to check out our Frequently Asked Questions About Process Servers.

Sources

1. Along with the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the United States Virgin Islands); Canada’s ten provinces; and Mexico’s thirty-two states and Mexico City

2. 2455 PACES FERRY ROAD, ATLANTA, GA, 30339, USA

3. The term ‘Limited’ is allowed to be abbreviated as ‘Ltd.’ and ‘Company’ may be abbreviated as ‘Co.’ The complete name must be 80 characters or less, including any spaces and/or punctuation

4. 192 Anderson Street S.E., Suite 125, Marietta, GA, 30060, USA

5. The North American Industry Classification System or NAICS is a classification of business establishments by type of economic activity

NAICS Code: Construction

NAICS Sub Code: Residential Remodelers

6. Paris Keierleber, S

1214 Harris Commons Place, Roswell, GA, 30076, USA

7. Alicia Martinez CEO 1921 Jasmine Pkwy, Alpharetta, GA, 30022, USA

8. NAICS Code: Any legal purpose

9. 2455 PACES FERRY ROAD, ATLANTA, GA, 30339-4024, USA

10.  GA Code § 14-3-1510 (2014)

11. CSC of Cobb County, Inc.

192 Anderson Street S.E., Suite 125, Marietta, GA, 30060, USA

Cobb

HOW TO FILE A COMPLAINT WITH THE U.S DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

US Department of Transportation

Undisputed Legal |District of Columbia Process Service

The United States Department of Transportation (USDOT or DOT) is a United States federal Cabinet department responsible for transportation. It was created on October 15th, 1966, by the Department of Transportation Act of Congress and started operations on April 1st, 1967. DOT is headed by the Secretary of Transportation. Once established in 1967, the Department of Transportation immediately became the fifth-largest department in the federal government.

Whether roadways, airways or even railroads, the Department of Transportation plans for the transportation of the nation. Regarding on-ground transportation, state and municipal governments play a significant role in the development of new highways and the operation of public transit networks.

 BACKGROUND

The Department of Transportation (DOT) is a federal cabinet-level department charged with assisting in the maintenance and development of the nation’s transportation networks and infrastructure.  Prior to the establishment of the Department of Transportation, the Under Secretary of Commerce for Transportation was responsible for the obligations currently associated with the DOT. 

 The Department of Transportation is a critical element when it comes to giving money to lower levels of government. The department is responsible for making federal funds available every year to state and local governments to assist in the improvement of transportation systems across the nation.

With regard to air travel, the Department of Transportation plays a much more active role, regulating commercial airlines and airports in an attempt to encourage the sector while also ensuring passenger safety. Department of Transportation has received the greatest criticism for its management of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

The Department of Transportation (DOT) creates, administers, and enforces federal rules regulating the use of America’s roads and highways, airports and air corridors, railroads, and seaports. 

LEVELS OF THE DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

  1. Federal Aviation Administration:  The Federal Aviation Administration is responsible for overseeing the commercial aviation sector in the United States on behalf of the Department of Transportation. As the airline industry’s principal regulator, the Federal Aviation Administration keeps extensive records on the rules and standards that businesses must observe as necessary to carry passengers. Additionally, the Federal Aviation Administration establishes regulations governing airport operations and pilots.
    The Federal Aviation Administration is also responsible for the nation’s air traffic control system, which guides commercial, private, and military aircraft across the United States. Federal Aviation Administration has had two primary missions since its inception: [A.] to promote the aviation sector and [B.] to guarantee the safety of American passengers.  The FAA has had varying degrees of success in carrying out its safety mandate, as shown by recent reports of the agency permitting one airline to fly aircraft that had not been thoroughly examined by government authorities. Its damaged image deteriorated further after the hijackings of the commercial airliners on September 11, 2001.
  2. Federal Transit Administration: The Federal Transit Administration supports mass transit networks across the nation by awarding huge amounts of money in grants to municipal and state governments and other non-profit groups. The FTA’s objective would be to see modern transit routes start operating or to enhance the performance of current mass transit systems. Additionally, the agency is accountable for maintaining that grantees adhere to federal obligations, as well as legislative and administrative regulations.  
  1. Office of the Inspector GeneralThe Office of the Inspector General for the Department of Transportation is responsible for verifying that DOT programs and operations adhere to the law and perform effectively. Each year, the Office of the Inspector General conducts audits and investigations, reviewing financial records and other data to determine if any illegal or unethical activity or poorly managed operations need attention. When DOT workers are suspected of violating the law, the OIG submits the case to the US Attorney General.

The Office of Investigations is composed of criminal and general investigators who are responsible for conducting criminal, civil, and administrative investigations of fraud and a variety of other allegations affecting DOT, its operating administrations, programs, and grantees (grant funds). The Office of Investigation’s top priorities involve crimes with a public safety impact, procurement and grant fraud schemes that significantly impact DOT funds, consumer and workforce fraud, and employee integrity violations. 

The Office of Investigations also manages a Hotline Complaint Center and investigates whistleblower complaints, including those referred by the U.S. Office of Special Counsel.

HOW TO DEAL WITH A COMPLAINT WITH THE DOT

Airlines are required by law to promptly recognize complaints and respond to consumers’ issues in writing within sixty days of receiving them. The airlines are to acknowledge complaints within thirty days of receipt. The Aviation Consumer Protection Division should be contacted with any and all consumer complaints about airlines Whenever individuals have a question about airport security screenings, the no-fly list, or anything else, it is important to consult the requirements of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA)

However, for airline complaints relating to discrimination, disability, and sexual misconduct, the process is more involved.  The DOT sends allegations of sexual misconduct to the FBI for investigation. An attorney is brought in to review disability and discrimination complaints.

HOW THE DOT CAN SOLVE AN AIR TRAVEL ISSUE

When it comes to air travel-related problems, the Department of Transportation has the ultimate say. Individuals often make an effort to settle an air travel issue before contacting the Department of Transportation (DOT). Airports are staffed with trained problem solvers known as Customer Service Representatives (CSRs) who can solve a wide range of issues on the spot. Passengers who are stuck may ask these representatives for assistance with arranging meals and hotel rooms as well as compensation if they have been bumped from a flight or are dealing with luggage problems. They can also aid with other regular claims or complaints.

Complaining to the airline is an option if individuals are unable to settle the issue at the airport. Consumer complaints must be acknowledged within thirty days of receipt by airlines, and written answers must be sent to customers within sixty days of receipt. In addition, the DOT mandates that airlines inform customers how to file a complaint with them.

It is often required to contact the airline via sending an email or a letter to the airline’s corporate consumer office. Flights inside the United States are required to include a statement on their websites explaining how and where passengers may file complaints with the Department of Transportation.

The Department of Transportation will take the complaint if the airline does not satisfactorily settle it. Complaints of illegal discrimination in air travel by airline workers or airline contractors on the basis of disability or based on race, color, national origin, or sex (including gender) may be made to the Department of Transportation (DOT).

Complaints about air travel may be resolved by getting assistance. Federal regulations safeguard airline passengers by defining the responsibilities of airlines, such as when a flight is oversold, baggage is mishandled, an aircraft is delayed on the runway, and refunds are sought.

The Federal Aviation Administration’s Hotline website provides information on how to report an airline safety problem. The entity also provides for a telephonic reporting service and also accepts complaints via email. For any issues regarding aviation security, the  Transportation Security Administration (TSA) must be contacted. If individuals are having problems with anything other than safety or security while flying, then they should contact an airline or ticket agent’s customer care department. As an additional option, customers may speak to an agent at the Department of Transportation’s Office of Aviation Consumer Protection.

ADDRESSING COMPLAINTS ABOUT TRAVEL FOR PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES.

It is imperative to ask to talk with the airline’s Complaint Resolution Official if flyers have a disability-related problem with an airline accommodation or service (CRO). When it comes to problems relating to air travel and disabilities, a Complaint Resolution Official (CRO)s the airline’s designated officer.

Using the DOT’s hotline, passengers with disabilities will be able to get basic information about their rights as well as requests for printed consumer information as well as assistance with time-sensitive disability-related problems. The airline, ticket agent, or DOT may all be contacted by passengers who feel their rights have been infringed or who are unable to settle a problem satisfactorily.

MAKING A FORMAL COMPLAINT TO A TRAVEL AGENCY OR AIRLINE.

Consumer complaints must be acknowledged within thirty days of receipt by airlines, and answers must be sent to customers within thirty days of receipt (thirty days for disability-related complaints).  The DOT also expects ticket agents to react to concerns from customers.

Flights inside the United States are required to include a statement on their websites explaining how and where passengers may file complaints with the Department of Transportation (DOT). The airline’s website may include a form for this. Consumer offices at the airline or ticket agent’s corporate headquarters are often accessible through email or letter.

If users have a concern or complaint regarding a consumer or civil rights (including handicap) problem relating to air travel, there must be an application filled to contact the Department of Transportation (DOT). This application may be done by mail or via an online form. Correspondence may be sent to the DOT at the designated address.

If the individual is sending a letter, they must make sure to include their entire address, phone number, and details about the trip and the issue they encountered or are now experiencing. However, a matter must be filed to DOT in writing in order to be treated as a complaint.

CONSUMER COMPLAINTS PROCEDURES AT THE DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION.

Complaints about discrimination and the disability will be addressed specifically, wherein the complaint will be sent to the airline by a Transportation Industry Analyst, and the airline is obligated to reply to both the individual as well as the DOT.

This complaint is then reviewed by an official at the Department of Transportation (DOT) to see whether a violation occurred after the airline’s answer is received. The case will be sent to an attorney for evaluation once it has been reviewed by an analyst. After an attorney has examined the said case, clients will get a report outlining the findings. 

For all other issues, the complaint will be sent to the airline or ticket agency by a Transportation Industry Analyst. Individuals will then get a formal answer from the airline or ticket broker. A copy of the airline’s and ticket agent’s response to DOT will be requested if it comes within the jurisdiction of DOT’s Office of Aviation Consumer Protection. After that, a DOT analyst will look at the situation to see whether there was a violation.

Whatever power DOT’s Office of Aviation Consumer Protection has to enforce the complaint, it will then be included in the database and counted towards the overall number of complaints submitted in the DOT’s monthly Air Travel Consumer Report if it concerns a problem with air travel service. It will also assist the Department of Transportation in identifying patterns in the airline sector, which may serve as the foundation for future regulation.

In order to assess how well-regulated companies are following the rules they enforce, the DOT’s Office of Aviation Consumer Protection will examine air travel service complaints on a yearly basis. They will also look for patterns or areas of concern that may call for additional action. This analysis may serve as a starting point for future inquiries, enforcement, and regulatory measures.

TRANSPARENCY IN THE COMPLAINTS THE DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION RECEIVES

In its Air Travel Consumer Report, which is released every month, the Department of Transportation provides data on the number and kind of complaints it gets from passengers and travelers alike about airlines and ticket agents. Consumers and air travel businesses may compare the complaint records of different airlines, ticket agents, and tour operators thanks to this report, which is accessible to the public. Besides complaints, the report includes data that the airlines submit to the Department of Transportation on flight delays, cancellations, bumping, and mishandled luggage.

Recently, the Department of Transportation has sponsored five candidates, who were chosen to gain five million dollars each from the new Regional Infrastructure Accelerators (RIA) program

To this end, the government has stated that the RIA program will assist speed up project delivery in a number of ways including project planning, research, and analyses as well as preliminary engineering and design work.

For more information on serving legal papers, contact Undisputed Legal our District of Columbia Process Service department at (800) 774-6922. Representatives are available Monday-Friday 8 am – 8 pm EST.  If you found this article helpful, please consider donating.  Thank you for following our blog, A space dedicated to bringing you news on breaking legal developments, interesting articles for law professionals, and educational material for all. We hope that you enjoy your time on our blog and revisit us!  We also invite you to check out our Frequently Asked Questions About Process Servers.

Sources

1. “Dot History.” DOT History | Bureau of Transportation Statistics, https://www.bts.dot.gov/ntl/dot-history.

2. The department’s goal is “to create and coordinate policies that will provide an efficient and cost-effective national transportation system while taking into account the needs of the public, the environment, and national security.

3. In 1965, Najeeb Halaby, administrator of the Federal Aviation Agency – the future Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) – recommended to US President Lyndon B. Johnson that transportation be raised to a cabinet-level position and the FAA be absorbed into the Department of Transportation (DOT)

4. Leopold, George. “The FAA and Its Odious Odas.” EETimes, 4 Mar. 2021, https://www.eetimes.com/the-faa-and-its-odious-odas/. 

5. Such as United Airlines, Delta, and Southwest Airlines

6. Schaper, David. “It Was Shoes on, No Boarding Pass or ID. but Airport Security Forever Changed on 9/11.” NPR, NPR, 10 Sept. 2021, https://www.npr.org/2021/09/10/1035131619/911-travel-timeline-tsa. 

7. The U.S. Department of Transportation Office of Inspector General (DOT OIG) is one of the Inspector General offices created by the Inspector General Act of 1978.

8.  A Transportation Industry Analyst will forward your complaint to the airline and the airline will be required to provide you with a response. . . . The DOT analyst will then review the case to determine whether a violation occurred.  If your complaint does not appear to fall under any of the laws that we enforce, it will still be logged in our database.”

9. A telephonic call may be done to that agency at 866/289-9673, or send an email to TSA-ContactCenter@dhs.gov.

10. The Department of Transportation’s portal for air passenger safety and security has a wealth of information on a variety of subjects. For the benefit of air passengers, the Department of Transportation (DOT) offers a handy “Fly Rights” handbook.

11. TSA may be reached at 1-866-289-9673 or by email

12. DOT’s toll-free hotline for air passengers with disabilities, 1-800-778-4838 or 1-800-455-9880 (TTY), can provide help to those who need it.

13. From Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Eastern time, the hotline is open

14. DOT Office of Aviation Consumer Protection 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE Washington, DC 20590 U.S. Department of Transportation

15. If the individual  has a consumer-related issue, then they may reach DOT at their telephonic number 202-366-2220

16. “Regional Infrastructure Accelerators Program.” Department of Transportation, https://www.transportation.gov/buildamerica/financing/tifia/regional-infrastructure-accelerators-program. 

THE STATE SECRETS PRIVILEGE

Undisputed Legal | Process Service 

Wikimedia Foundation, et al. v. National Security Agency, et al. is a lawsuit brought by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) on behest of the Wikimedia Foundation and several other organizations against the National Security Agency (NSA), the United States Department of Justice (DOJ), and other named individuals. The argument that the complaint hinged upon was that the NSA engaged in mass surveillance of Wikipedia users.

The complaint asserts that the monitoring technology, dubbed “Upstream” by the NSA, violates the First Amendment of the United States Constitution, which safeguards free speech, and the Fourth Amendment, which forbids unreasonable searches and seizures.

BACKGROUND

The National Security Agency is headquartered at Fort Meade, Maryland. The action itself was brought in the United States District Court for the District of Maryland. The action was rejected in October 2015 by Judge T. S. Ellis III. Four months later, the Wikimedia Foundation appealed the judgment, going to the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals. The Court of Appeals upheld the dismissal of all plaintiffs with the exception of the Foundation, whose claims were deemed “plausible” enough to warrant remanding the case to the lower court.

Edward Snowden, a former NSA analyst, disclosed upstream surveillance for the first time in May 2013.   Clapper v. Amnesty International USA, an earlier ACLU suit, was similarly dismissed for lack of standing. In light of some of Snowden’s revelations, including an above-Top Secret NSA presentation that explicitly identified Wikipedia as a target for HTTP monitoring, the Wikimedia Foundation filed a lawsuit against the NSA for breaching its users’ First and Fourth Amendment rights. 

On August 6th, 2015, the defendants filed a request to dismiss, claiming that the plaintiffs have failed to establish convincingly that they were harmed by Upstream’s data gathering and therefore lack standing to sue. The Electronic Frontier Foundation responded by filing an amicus brief on behalf of a coalition of libraries and retailers. On September 25th, 2015, both parties delivered oral arguments at a hearing.

The District Court for the District of Maryland rejected the complaint on October 23, 2015, citing a lack of standing. Judge T. S. Ellis III of the United States District Court found that the plaintiffs could not credibly establish that they were exposed to Upstream monitoring, reiterating the 2013 Clapper v. Amnesty International US ruling. The Foundation maintained that its complaint was justified and that there was no doubt that Upstream monitoring intercepted communications between its user community and the Wikimedia Foundation. The Electronic Frontier Foundation, which filed an amicus brief in support of the plaintiffs, stated that it was perverse to dismiss a suit for lack of proof (standing) when the surveillance program at issue was secret and urged federal courts to address the serious constitutional concerns raised by Upstream surveillance. On February 17th, 2016, the plaintiffs filed an appeal with the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.

On May 23rd, 2017, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a lower court’s rejection of Wikimedia’s allegations. This appeals court determined that the Foundation’s claims of Fourth Amendment breaches were realistic enough to “survive a facial challenge to standing,” noting that the damage that the NSA’s acquisition of personal data might cause was not hypothetical. After that, the case was returned back to the District Court of Maryland, where it was ordered to continue. The court reversed Ellis’ rejection of the other plaintiffs’ lawsuits, ruling that the non-Wikimedia plaintiffs had not presented a convincing argument that their activities were adversely impacted by Upstream’s breadth.

STATUS OF THE WIKIMEDIA’S CASE 

Wikimedia Foundation’s lawsuit was dismissed on December 16th, 2019 by the District Court. This case was thereinafter appealed by the Wikimedia Foundation to the Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, which heard oral arguments on February 14th, 2020. The appeal was heard in March 2021 and once again dismissed in September. The appeals court in the United States upheld the rejection of a lawsuit by the Wikimedia Foundation, which operates Wikipedia and challenged the National Security Agency’s bulk surveillance and examination of foreign internet communications by American citizens.

The central argument that the government maintained was the “state secrets privilege.” Essentially, this meant that an in-depth examination of this matter in court might undermine national security, and therefore, the case was to be dismissed. The 4th Circuit Court of Appeals published this divided ruling on 20th September.

THE REASON FOR DISMISSAL: THE STATE SECRETS PRIVILEGE

United States law precedent established the state secrets privilege as an evidentiary rule. Excluding evidence from a case due to the use of privilege occurs when the government submits affidavits asserting that court proceedings may reveal sensitive information that could put national security at risk. The first case in which the privilege was formally recognized was United States v. Reynolds, a lawsuit involving purported military secrets.

The court seldom undertakes an in-camera review of the material after a claim of “state secrets privilege” to assess whether the application of this concept is warranted. As a consequence, judges issue judgments in which the assertions are unsubstantiated. Due to the protected information being fully withdrawn from the lawsuit, the court must decide whether or not its absence impacts the case.

The state secrets privilege’s intention is to maintain state secrets out of the public eye during civil litigation (in criminal cases, the Classified Information Procedures Act serves the same purpose). When the government is not a party to the lawsuit, it has the same right to intervene and urge the court to exclude evidence relating to state secrets. Even while courts have the authority to scrutinize such information, they often defer to the Executive Branch. Evidence that is protected by the state secrets privilege is not admissible in court. In many cases, the plaintiff is unable to proceed with the lawsuit without the confidential information and decides to abandon it as a result. If the lawsuit involves a state secret, judges have been more likely recently to reject it altogether.

However, it must be known that the claim does not have to be dismissed if the privilege is validly invoked. Instead of dismissing the plaintiffs’ claims, the Supreme Court in Reynolds returned the case for further consideration of whether the claims might continue without the protected evidence. 

However, there has been a great deal of debate over how a case should continue if a claim of privilege is accepted. In their readiness to accept government petitions to dismiss a claim entirely or to allow a case to continue with no repercussions except “those arising from the loss of evidence,” courts have differed significantly throughout the years. Some courts have viewed the implications of a legitimate privilege in a more limited manner, ruling that the privilege simply covers particular protected evidentiary components. Another court has adopted a broader interpretation, saying that the privilege’s constitutional foundations frequently compel deference to executive branch claims and eventually leave a party with no alternative legal recourse. Other courts disagree.

WHAT SETS THE STATE SECRETS PRIVILEGE APART

Although some other legal doctrines are associated with the state secrets privilege, the state secrets privilege is highly differentiated. However, some doctrines that are closely related to the state secrets privilege include [A.] the principle of non-justiciability in predefined situations involving state secrets as was established in the so-called “Totten Rule“; [B.] definite restrictions on the publishing of classified information as clarified in the Pentagon Papers case of New York Times Co. v. United States; and [C.] the use of classified information in criminal cases is governed by the Classified Information Procedures Act

The Wikimedia Foundation expressed its displeasure with the decision on Wednesday and said it was looking into possibilities for an appeal.

Some have argued that the executive branch has abused the privilege in recent years to hide its own embarrassing or illegal behavior, especially in the context of the “war on terror.” So, in reaction to this, the Obama Administration has released a new policy on the state secrets privilege in an effort to increase trust in the federal court system that the  “U.S. government will use the privilege only if it is essential to protect national security or international affairs.” A State Secrets Review Committee and the Attorney General must both approve any decision by an agency to use the privilege in litigation under Attorney General Eric Holder’s new policy. State secrets privileges can no longer be invoked to hide legal violations or administrative errors, avoid “embarrassment,” or “prevent the release of information… which would not reasonably be expected to cause significant harm to national security,” according to the Department of Justice’s new procedures.

The President is constitutionally charged with protecting information relating to national security. The state secrets privilege is not a mere “common law” privilege and sees some roots in the Constitution. This connection was most commonly showcased in United States v. Nixon, wherein the Supreme Court noted the claim of privilege “relates to the effective discharge of the President’s powers, it is constitutionally based.” 

If the privilege is appropriately invoked, it is absolute and the disclosure of the underlying information cannot be compelled by the court. Although a private litigant’s need for the information may be relevant to the amount of deference afforded to the government, “even the most compelling necessity cannot overcome the claim of privilege if the court is ultimately satisfied” that the privilege is appropriate.

Yet, significant controversy has arisen with respect to the question of how a case should proceed in light of the successful claim of privilege. Courts have varied greatly in their willingness to either dismiss a claim in its entirety or allow a case to proceed “with no consequences save those resulting from the loss of evidence.”  Some courts have taken a more restrained view of the consequences of a valid privilege, holding that the privilege protects only specific pieces of privileged evidence; while others have taken a more expansive view, arguing that the privilege, with its constitutional underpinnings, often requires deference to executive branch assertions and ultimate dismissal. Whether the assertion of the state secrets privilege is fatal to a particular suit or merely excludes privileged evidence from further litigation, is a question that is highly dependent upon the specific facts of the case.

Pursuant to existing state secrets privilege jurisprudence, the valid invocation of the privilege generally may result in the outright dismissal of the case in three circumstances being [A.] wherein  a plaintiff cannot establish a prima facie case without the protected evidence; [B.] where the privilege deprives a litigant of evidence necessary to establish a valid defense; and [C.] outright dismissal pursuant to the state secrets privilege which would be the “very subject matter of the case is a state secret,” and as a result, “litigating the case to a judgment on the merits would present an unacceptable risk of disclosing state secrets.”

For more information on serving legal papers, contact Undisputed Legal our Process Service department at (800) 774-6922. Representatives are available Monday-Friday 8 am – 8 pm EST.  If you found this article helpful, please consider donating.  Thank you for following our blog, A space dedicated to bringing you news on breaking legal developments, interesting articles for law professionals, and educational material for all. We hope that you enjoy your time on our blog and revisit us!  We also invite you to check out our Frequently Asked Questions About Process Servers.

Sources

1. The original plaintiffs besides the Wikimedia Foundation were the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International USA, the PEN American Center, the Global Fund for Women, The Nation magazine,[9] the Rutherford Institute, and the Washington Office on Latin America.[5

2. Cyrus Farivar – Oct 23, 2015 10:23 pm UTC. “Judge Tosses Wikimedia’s Anti-NSA Lawsuit Because Wikipedia Isn’t Big Enough.” Ars Technica, 23 Oct. 2015, https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2015/10/judge-tosses-wikimedias-anti-nsa-lawsuit-because-wikipedia-isnt-big-enough/. 

3. WIKIMEDIA V. NSA – D. MD. OPINION

4. Brigham, Michelle Paulson, and Geoff. “District Court Grants Government’s Motion to Dismiss WIKIMEDIA v. NSA, Appeal Expected.” Diff, 23 Oct. 2015, https://diff.wikimedia.org/2015/10/23/wikimedia-v-nsa-lawsuit-dismissal/. 

5. See Clapper v. Amnesty Int’l USA, 133 S. Ct. 1138,1144 (2013) (involving a facial challenge to Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act);

6. Since Clapper, the government itself has confirmed many of the key facts about NSA’s Upstream surveillance, including that it conducts suspicionless searches. ACLU attorney Patrick Toomey noted the lawsuit is particularly relevant as the plaintiffs engage in “hundreds of billions of international communications” annually. Any program of Upstream surveillance must necessarily sweep up a substantial part of these communications. 

7. NSA monitoring was determined to be “at full throttle” by a U.S. District Court judge in 2015, and the case was dismissed. It was rejected again in 2019 by the lower court, but the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals brought it back in 2017 and remanded it there.

8. According to Judge Diana Gribbon Motz, the majority decision “stands for a broad proposition: A lawsuit may be dismissed under the state secrets doctrine, after little judicial scrutiny, even if the government bases its sole defenses on far-fetched hypothetical.”

9. Although the district court erred in granting summary judgment to the government as to Wikimedia’s standing, we agree that the state secrets privilege requires the termination of this suit,” Judge Albert Diaz wrote in a majority opinion by the court

10. United States v. Reynolds, 345 U.S. 1 (1953), is a landmark legal case in 1953 that saw the formal recognition of the state secrets privilege, a judicially recognized extension of presidential power.

11. Three employees of the Radio Corporation of America, an Air Force contractor, were killed when a B-29 Superfortress crashed in 1948 in Waycross, Georgia. Their widows brought an action in tort seeking damages in federal court, under the Federal Tort Claims Act. As part of this action, they requested the production of accident reports concerning the crash but were told by the Air Force that the release of such details would threaten national security

12. The Classified Information Procedures Act or CIPA is codified as the third appendix to Title 18 of the U.S. Code, the title concerning crimes and criminal procedures. The U.S. Code citation is 18 U.S.C. App. III. Sections 1-16

13. Non-justiciability concerns whether a court can with constitutional propriety adjudicate on the matter before it or whether such an adjudication would be an infringement by the court of the role which the Constitution has conferred 

14. Totten v. United States, 92 U.S. 105 (1876), is a United States Supreme Court case in which the court ruled on judicial jurisdiction in espionage cases.

15. New York Times Co. v. United States, 403 U.S. 713 (1971), was a landmark decision of the US Supreme Court on the First Amendment. The ruling made it possible for The New York Times and The Washington Post newspapers to publish the then-classified Pentagon Papers without risk of government censorship or punishment

16. James Buatti, senior legal manager at the Wikimedia Foundation, said: “In the face of substantial public information concerning NSA monitoring, the court’s rationale puts extreme secrecy claims above Internet user rights.”

17. As the Supreme Court has stated, “[t]he authority to protect such information falls upon the President as the head of the Executive Branch and as Commander in Chief.” 

18. United States v. Nixon, 418 U.S. 683 (1974)

19. In Molerio v. Federal Bureau of Investigation, a job seeker alleged that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) had disqualified him based upon his father’s political ties to socialist organizations in violation of the applicant’s and his father’s First Amendment rights.  In response, the FBI asserted that it had a lawful reason to disqualify the plaintiff, but claimed that its reason was protected by the state secrets privilege. After reviewing the FBI’s claim in camera, the D.C. Circuit agreed that the evidence of a nondiscriminatory reason was protected and that its

WHO CAN ACCESS PERSONAL VOTER INFORMATION AFTER AN ELECTION

Voter Information

Undisputed Legal | Process Service 

Attorney General Josh Shapiro of Pennsylvania has declared that his office intends to sue Senate Republicans to prevent officials from subpoenaing voter information. The complaint essentially centers around the fact that the subpoena sought to reveal the personal information of nine million Pennsylvania residents and violate the state constitution’s right to informational privacy.

CASE BACKGROUND

After Republicans on a state Senate committee overseeing the review issued a subpoena in the month of September to Veronica Degraffenreid, who is the acting head of Pennsylvania’s Department of State, the Attorney General filed for the suit against the involved parties. Senators Chris Dush, Jake Corman, and the Senate Intergovernmental Operations Committee spurred the subpoena process, having necessitated the name, date of birth, partial Social Security number, and driver’s license number of every Pennsylvanian who voted in the 2020 presidential election as part of a ‘forensic investigation’ of the election. Additionally, they desired to establish how each registered voter voted and whenever every registered voter cast ballots. 

The senators justified their appeal by citing worries about the election’s integrity. The Attorney General’s Office responded by filing a complaint in the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania on behalf of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, the Department of State, and Acting Secretary Veronica Degraffenreid. 

The Attorney General’s complaint hinges upon the premier basis that the committee’s worries about potential election integrity violations are founded on misleading, prejudiced claims. Additionally, the complaint asserts that disclosing the personal information of so many voters poses a significant danger, particularly given the committee’s failure to establish necessary security measures to safeguard the data from third-party businesses.

The 2020 presidential election and the state’s voting procedures and standards have been challenged in Pennsylvania. In April, the US Supreme Court threw out Pennsylvania’s last challenge to the validity of the 2020 presidential election. An argument was made in Bognet v. Degraffenreid that voting rules may only be established by states legislatures, and thus, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s decision to extend Pennsylvania’s deadline for accepting mail-in votes was invalid. Fourteen Republican state legislators filed a lawsuit at the beginning of September contesting Act 77, which established in Pennsylvania universal mail-in voting in October 2019 as unconstitutional. 

Shapiro’s office urged the court to reject the subpoena citing Trump’s attempts to undermine confidence in the outcomes of the 2020 presidential election are underpinning the same and it serves no valid legislative purpose.

HOW PRIVATE IS VOTER INFORMATION?

One thing is universally private: just how people voted. Ballots are also always kept private.

Most voter data is generally public. It is gathered for the public, not private, reasons, and does not really have an opt-out provision for disseminating this material. Voter records may contain facts about individuals, which could be [A.] name; [B.] street address [C.] party affiliation; [D.] previous voting history of the individual; [E.] phone number and email address

Voter data from all fifty states will inevitably be accessible for certain purposes, even if the laws vary from state to state.  Voter data may be utilized for issue politics, charity solicitation, and commercial marketing in many states since there are no limitations on how they may be used.

Voter data records, on the other hand, are really not readily available to the general public. It takes a certain amount of know-how to approach governments for data, even if it is only to make the request. The GOP Data Center and NGP VAN, both of which provide accessible data for Republican and Democratic campaigns, are examples of these types of organizations. These experts simplify the job of political campaigns. The efficient use of the voter database was crucial to the Obama Administration for America campaigns in 2008 and 2012.

Vendors of voter data do not want their databases to be released to the public. Commercial enterprises use publicly accessible government information about who is registered to vote and who has cast votes in previous elections to build these computerized databases, often referred to as ‘voter files.’ They provide not only a statewide snapshot of voter registration and turnout, but they also often incorporate data from other sources.  In order to make the data accessible to their customers rather than hackers, it is thus imperative for these businesses to make an investment in getting it structured. However, data transfer may be difficult to regulate.

STATE VOTING RECORDS AND THE INFORMATION THEY PRESERVE

All states provide political parties and candidates for public office some level of access to voter registration data. For example, voter information may be shared with local and state authorities as well as private companies as well as researchers, and the media in the event of a scandal. Depending on state laws, only some people have access to public documents. Only state residents, registered voters, non-profit organizations and researchers may have access to some information. Most states, on the other hand, let the public see certain information about who is registered to vote. This information typically includes the voter’s present address, which many survivors value for privacy and safety reasons.

Every state provides a mechanism for voters to verify their registration status in addition to sharing or selling voter data. In order to do these status checks, it would be as easy as typing in a name and zip code in the box provided. When a voter’s status is checked, the entire current address is shown. Survivors of abuse, whose safety may be jeopardized if their abuser discovers their current whereabouts and can estimate their zip code, may find this readily available status checks frightening.

Additionally, the mechanism itself does not correlate across state borders. In the first place, vendors differ in terms of how they monitor citizens when they traverse state lines. While federal law (the Help America Vote Act of 2002) mandates that each state maintain a list of its registered voters, election administration in the United States has traditionally been extremely decentralized, making it difficult to harmonize state data.

Data brokers that gather extra personal information from public records, commercial sources, social media sites, apps, and websites to make voter records, even more, identifying exacerbate the problem by compiling ‘Enhanced Voter Records,’ which are even more identifiable. Campaigns are often sold on ‘Enhanced Voter Records,’ which may contain information on a voter’s buying patterns, religious affiliation, recreational interests, and even public social media profiles.

Several states, on the other hand, permit the withholding of personal information if it has been classified as confidential. In order to prohibit the sale and accessibility of surviving addresses in voter lists, several address Confidentiality Programs (ACPs) seek to restrict voter data sharing. To be clear, this is not a guarantee of privacy for all ACPs.

WHAT INFORMATION IS PUBLICALLY AVAILABLE

The name, residence, and party allegiance are all available to the public via the state’s voting records.

Additionally, states have the freedom to collect extra data, and some of that data may be made public. Among the things on the voting record are things like [A.] identifying information, which could be information like the individual’s date of birth and place of birth, gender identity, father’s name or mother’s maiden name, Social Security number, military ID, passport number, drivers’ license, signature; [B.] information pertaining about the address that the individual currently resides at as well as past addresses or the voting district; [C.] contact information of the individual like their telephone number and email address; [D.] their voting information including party affiliation, previous voting, absentee ballot, precincts, registering agency, required assistance; [E.] miscellaneous information like the individual’s criminal record, last date of jury duty, and active or inactive status.

There are state laws that specify who is allowed to obtain a voter list, what information may be disclosed publicly, and with whom. The voting record may be sought by political parties and candidates, law enforcement, government officials, companies, academics, journalists, and even members of the general public depending on the state (and occasionally the county).

HOW TO KEEP VOTING HISTORY PRIVATE

Users may be able to keep parts of their voting history private under state programs. People who qualify for protection include [A.] domestic violence victims; [B.] individuals who have suffered crimes or are under protective orders; [C.] law enforcement officers or their spouses; [D.] California reproductive healthcare medical providers, employees, volunteers, or patients; [E.] retired state and federal judges and attorneys; [F.] Virginia foster parents; [G.] uniformed service members in Oklahoma; [H.] under-eighteen Colorado pre-registered voters; [I.] witnesses and victims in protection and [J.] any voter who requests that their record be classified as private. 

Laws differ from one state to the next. Only political parties may access certain lists, while others are open to the public. Some lists require requesters to be scholars or to work in politics, while others do not. A few may be downloaded at any time from a state website. However, a state-by-state count by the National Conference of State Legislatures shows that all fifty states and the District of Columbia have at least one method for making access simple for requesters.

THE LEGAL IMPACT OF THE CASE AGAINST THE SENATORS 

At various places, specific information demands in the subpoena have been targeted as unlawful or unconstitutional and unenforceable in the seventy-six-page complaint launched by the Attorney General. The driving force of the complaint centers around the fact that a person’s constitutional privacy rights would be violated if the subpoena requested voter information, such as names, birth dates, driver’s license numbers, and partial Social Security numbers. This is because the subpoena is not founded on the evidence of wrongdoing by itself. 

The complaint itself attempts to highlight the present danger of voter data being disclosed in a way that violates the constitutional right to vote because the subpoena is ill-founded. Additionally, it attempts to also resolve a question of precedent: it is a clear endeavor to prevent Republican requests for records of audit and review reports dating back to 2018 on the state’s voter registration system.

According to a letter from Shapiro’s office, the material was considered ‘critical infrastructure information’ by the Department of Homeland Security and cannot be disclosed to the general public under federal law. A copy of the subpoena was sent to top election officials in the office of Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf. Democrats in the state Senate filed a lawsuit to halt the Republican ‘forensic inquiry’ and prevent the subpoena.

How the argument has been structured by the Republican senators in question is that they are using legitimate legislative power in supervising executive branch operations and that what they term a probe’ has nothing to do with Trump or reversing the 2016 election results. 

As with Arizona’s highly criticized audit, the subpoena does not seek ballots or voting equipment, and much of the information sought is already public knowledge, according to Shapiro. However, it is against the law in Pennsylvania to disclose a voter’s driver’s license or social security number to the public. The main contractor in the Arizona Senate GOP’s assessment of the election results received this information on Maricopa County voters. 

For more information on serving legal papers, contact Undisputed Legal our Process Service department at (800) 774-6922. Representatives are available Monday-Friday 8 am – 8 pm EST.  If you found this article helpful, please consider donating.  Thank you for following our blog, A space dedicated to bringing you news on breaking legal developments, interesting articles for law professionals, and educational material for all. We hope that you enjoy your time on our blog and revisit us!  We also invite you to check out our Frequently Asked Questions About Process Servers.

Sources

1. Pennsylvania Statutes Title 25 Pa.C.S.A. Elections § 1207. Open records and documents

Scope.–The following documents under this part are open to public inspection except as otherwise provided in this section:

(1) Records of a registration commission and district registers.

(2) Street lists.

(3) Official voter registration applications.

(4) Petitions and appeals.

(5) Witness lists.

(6) Accounts and contracts.

(7) Reports.

(b) Use.–Open material under subsection (a) may be inspected during ordinary business hours subject to the efficient operation of a commission.  The public inspection shall only be in the presence of a commissioner or authorized commission employee and shall be subject to proper regulation for safekeeping of the material and subject to this part.  Upon request, a photocopy of the record or computer-generated data record shall be provided at cost.  The material may not be used for commercial or improper purposes.

2. According to official statistics, Democrat Joe Biden defeated Republican Donald Trump in Pennsylvania by a margin of moreover 80,000 votes.

3. Shapiro stated: ‘Giving this data away would compromise the privacy of every Pennsylvania voter—that violates Pennsylvanians’ constitutional rights. By trying to pry into everyone’s driver’s license numbers and social security numbers they have gone too far.’

4. Jim Bognet, et al., Petitioners v. Veronica Degraffenreid, Acting Secretary of Pennsylvania, et al. November 27, 2020, United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit  Case Numbers: (20-3214)

5.Staff, Ram Eachambadi | JURIST. ‘GOP Lawmakers File Suit CHALLENGING PENNSYLVANIA Mail-in Voting as Unconstitutional.’ Jurist, – JURIST – News – Legal News & Commentary, 4 Sept. 2021, https://www.jurist.org/news/2021/09/gop-lawmakers-file-suit-challenging-pennsylvanias-mail-in-voting-as-unconstitutional/. 

 The plaintiffs’ primary claim is that the law is unconstitutional because it allows for no-excuse voting by mail whereas the constitution requires lawmakers to provide an alternative way for people to vote only if they are unable to do so for specific reasons such as illness, physical disability, religious observance, or being out of town on business.

6. Issenberg, Sasha. ‘How Obama’s Team Used Big Data to Rally Voters.’ MIT Technology Review, MIT Technology Review, 2 Apr. 2020, https://www.technologyreview.com/2012/12/19/114510/how-obamas-team-used-big-data-to-rally-voters/. 

7. Balz, Dan. ‘How the Obama Campaign Won the Race for Voter Data.’ The Washington Post, WP Company, 28 July 2013, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/how-the-obama-campaign-won-the-race-for-voter-data/2013/07/28/ad32c7b4-ee4e-11e2-a1f9-ea873b7e0424_story.html. 

8. Daley, David. ‘Voters Had Their Say. PARTISANS Ignored Them.’ The New York Times, The New York Times, 29 Sept. 2021, https://www.nytimes.com/2021/09/29/opinion/redistricting-commissions-democracy.html. 

9. The Help America Vote Act of 2002 Pub.L. 107–252, or HAVA, is a United States federal law which passed in the House 357-48 and 92-2 in the Senate and was signed into law by President Bush on October 29, 2002. The bill was drafted (at least in part) in reaction to the controversy surrounding the 2000 U.S. presidential election when almost two million ballots were disqualified because they registered multiple votes or none when run through vote-counting machines.

10. Andrew, Scottie. ‘For Abuse Victims, Registering to Vote Brings a Dangerous Tradeoff.’ CNN, Cable News Network, 27 Oct. 2020, https://edition.cnn.com/2020/10/27/us/domestic-violence-voting-election-privacy-trnd/index.html. 

11. Unfounded claims that voters were registered as residing in a condemned building need specific details on each voter, according to Senate Republican Committee Chairman Cris Dush, R-Jefferson. Other than that, Dush was unable to provide any information.

12. It’s not about fixing issues from the previous election, they claim. Instead, they’re trying to increase voter trust in elections

13. Neas, — Ralph, et al. ‘How the Arizona Senate Audit in Maricopa County Is an Assault on Voting Rights.’ The Century Foundation, 27 Sept. 2021, https://tcf.org/content/report/arizona-senate-audit-maricopa-county-assault-voting-rights/?agreed=1. 

14. Pennsylvania Statutes Title 25 Pa.C.S.A. Elections § 1403. Street lists

(a) Preparation.–Commencing not later than the 15th day prior to each election, each commission shall prepare for each election district a list of the names and addresses of all registered electors as of that date resident in the district.  The list may not include the digitized or electronic signature of a registered elector.  The list shall be arranged in one of the following manners:

(1) By streets and house numbers.

(2) Alphabetically by last name of each registered elector.

(3) In a manner whereby the location of the elector’s residence can be identified.

(b) Copies.–The commission shall retain two copies of the list under subsection (a) on file at its office and forward one copy of the list under subsection (a) to the department.  These copies shall be available for public inspection during business hours, subject to reasonable safeguards and regulations.

(c) Distribution.–The department and each commission shall distribute the list under subsection (a) upon request as follows:

(1) To officials concerned with the conduct of elections.

(2) To political parties and political bodies.

(3) To candidates.

(d) Organizations.–The commission may, for a reasonable fee, distribute the list under subsection (a) to organized bodies of citizens.

CHILD SUPPORT SANCTIONS IN WASHINGTON DC

Family Court

Undisputed Legal | District of Columbia Process Service 

State and local governments, not the federal government, are often in charge of enforcing child support obligations. Federal jurisdiction only comes into play in a child support case under extremely specific conditions. As a result, child support problems should be brought to the attention of the appropriate state and municipal authorities.

Child support may be collected via a number of civil and criminal procedures available in each state. Child support enforcement services are provided by ‘Title IV-D‘ agencies in each state, which are mandated by federal law to offer such services to anybody who wants them.

BACKGROUND

It was feasible to enforce child support payments on an individual level after the Child Support Recovery Act of 1992 was signed into law. It was the goal of the Child Support Recovery Act to punish the worst offenders and discourage future non-payment of court-ordered child support obligations. Some law enforcement agencies felt that modest misdemeanor penalties under the Child Support Recovery Act did not have the power necessary to discourage even severe offenders, despite the fact that federal prosecution efforts were successful under the Act. 

When it came to enforcing the Child Support Recovery Act, a solution was found in the Deadbeat Parents Punishment Act (DPPA). New federal crimes were established for the most severe child support offenders under this legislation. Willful non-payment of child support imposed by a court is prohibited under federal law in certain situations. Those found guilty risk penalties such as fines and jail.

SANCTIONS VIA MOTION FOR CONTEMPT

One method of enforcing a child support order is to file a petition for contempt. A motion for contempt may be brought against a party that flouts a court order. It is possible to be found in contempt of court for breaking the conditions of an order. If the other party does not pay child support or adhere to the custody arrangement, for example, a petition for contempt may be filed. There are two types of contempt: civil and criminal.

In civil contempt, the aggrieved parent must prove that  [A.]  there exists a valid child support order filed with the D.C. family court; [B.] the non-custodial parent can pay the child support amount, and [C.] the non-custodial parent is in arrears thirty days or more.

The court may order the non-custodial parent to then pay a lump sum amount, or make scheduled payments. If this is not done, then the non-custodial parent may even be incarcerated.  Non-custodial parents may be in criminal contempt if they deliberately violate the court order and all other enforcement measures fail to work. The court may impose sanctions on the non-custodial parent, including a sentence of up to one year in jail, probation; or payment of a fine.

HOW TO ENFORCE A CHILD SUPPORT ORDER

A child support order may be enforced by the Attorney General’s Office’s Child Support Services Division (CSSD), which can attach and seize assets belonging to individuals who owe child support and are held in financial institutions. Without a court warrant, seizures are possible. A Writ of Attachment is first issued by the Child Support Services Division, and then all monies are placed in escrow. The Child Support Services Division issues an Order of Condemnation to the financial institution if a review by the Child Support Services Division does not result in the withdrawal of the Writ of Attachment. The Office of Administrative Hearings must be contacted within thirty days after receiving an Order of Condemnation if individuals want to seek a hearing for adequate District of Columbia Process Service. 

RESUMING CHILD SUPPORT SANCTIONS

In response to the National and District Emergency Declaration Regarding COVID-19., the Office of The Attorney General Child Support Services Division (CSSD) suspended the enforcement of administrative sanctions for non-payment of child support in March 2020. From November 1st, 2021, the Child Support Services Division has decided to reinstate all administrative sanctions.  The office may be contacted via telephonic or mail methods for the District of Columbia Process Service.

Failing to follow the Court’s order to pay support may result in [A.] suspension of the driver’s license; [B.] suspension of the vehicle registration; [C.] suspension of their passport; [D.] filing of Civil or Criminal Contempt of Court; [E.] federal and State Tax intercept; [F.] freezing of bank accounts; [G.] lottery Intercept; [H.] liens on the property of the individual; [I.]  Credit Bureau Reporting; [J.] disability withholding / Worker’s Compensation intercept and other Administrative Offsets to certain federal payments

RESUMING TANF SANCTIONS

In response to the National and District Emergency Declaration Regarding COVID-19 and similar to sanctions preserved for child support, the Office of The Attorney General Child Support Services Division (CSSD) suspended the practice of reporting non-compliant TANF customers to the Department of Human Services (DHS) to prevent a reduction in TANF benefits in March 2020.

There is a resuming of seeking TANF Sanctions for non-compliant TANF customers from November 1st,2021.   Failing to comply with the District of Columbia Process Service requirements of completing the Child Support Online Application and providing information on the non-custodial parent may result in a reduction of TANF benefits.

HOW DO DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA ADMINISTRATIVE SANCTIONS WORK

It must be known that according to the administration sanctions levied by the District of Columbia, no car registration or driver’s license will be renewed or issued to an individual who fails to comply with a subpoena or warrant relating to paternity or child support proceedings after receiving notice via District of Columbia Process Service. This is also applicable to any individual currently receiving income with overdue child support amounting to a sum of sixty days’ cumulative support. If the individual continues to flout the child support laws, any car registration or driver’s license that has been issued to the person who is receiving income who is in default of around sixty days of support payments will be suspended.

Although this is mostly for a drivers’ license, the suspension is also applicable to a professional, business, recreational, or sporting license as well. None of these licenses will be renewed or issued in the District of Columbia if the individual fails to comply with a subpoena or warrant relating to paternity or child support proceedings after receiving notice of the same through the District of Columbia Process Service. Furthermore, this provision suspending these licenses would also be applicable for individuals in default of their child support payments.  It should be known here that before actually incorporating any of these suspensions, the individual who is defaulting will be entitled through District of Columbia Process Service to an administrative hearing before the mayor. 

In any contested case, the parties are given reasonable notice under District of Columbia Process Service guidelines of the afforded hearing by the agency. For a hearing of this type, it is necessary to provide [A.] time, [B.]  place, and [C.] issues involved. However, depending on the procedure, the Mayor will determine if issues cannot be fully stated in advance of the hearing, or if subsequent amendment of the issues is necessary. This is a temporary provision, as the issues will be fully stated as soon as possible, and all parties can then present evidence and argument accordingly. There is also no preclusion preventing any contested case from being disposed of by stipulation, agreed settlement, consent order, or default.

 Upon receipt of a District of Columbia Process Service notice from the Mayor that a license is subject to denial, the licensing agency will deny or suspend the license within thirty days. The obligor may appeal the final decision of the Mayor to the Superior Court in accordance with the methods and standards of appeal. 

NOTICE TO THE DEFAULTER

It is imperative for adequate District of Columbia Process Service notice to be provided to the individual. The Mayor should provide a stipulated thirty days written District of Columbia Process Service notice to the obligor before denying or suspending the car registration or the driver’s, professional, business, recreational, or sporting. 

The notice must adhere to District of Columbia Process Service standards and should delineate [A.]  that the obligor has the right to a hearing before the Mayor; [B.] how, when, and where the District of Columbia Process Service notice can be contested; [C.] the amount owed; [D.] the date on which the obligor failed to comply with a subpoena or warrant, if applicable, and the nature of the obligor’s noncompliance; and [E.] that the licensing authority shall deny issuance or renewal, or suspend the registration or license, thirty days after the issuance of a decision against the obligor by the Mayor following the hearing. 

The license suspension will continue according to the trajectory provided by the mayor unless the individual who owes overdue child support pays the arrearage in full. This also applies to if the individual agrees to and follows duly a payment schedule requiring them to make monthly child support payments toward the overdue support. This new payment schedule must have installments that come up to an amount equal to 25% of the obligor’s current monthly child support obligation for as long as they are is receiving income. If the obligor fails to comply with the payment schedule after thirty days, but before the arrears are paid in full, denial or suspension shall take place immediately and without further notice. 

Any individual who has failed to comply with a subpoena or warrant relating to paternity or child support proceedings complies with all processes required by the Superior Court or IV-D agency for thirty days; or who is receiving income, owes at least sixty days of overdue child support, and has failed to comply with a District of Columbia Process Service document (subpoena or warrant related to paternity or child support proceedings) shall not be entitled to an additional hearing or review regarding the denial or suspension of the license.

The Mayor will also provide the individual with the opportunity to demonstrate why their registration or license should not be denied or suspended according to District of Columbia Process Service guidelines. The only issues to be determined would be [A.] whether the person named in the court notice is a licensee or applicant, has their car registered in the District of Columbia, and seeks to have a car registration issued or renewed; [B.]  if the arrearage has been paid in full, or whether a payment schedule has been agreed to and complied with if the basis for denial or suspension is failure to pay overdue child support; [C.]  whether the obligor is currently receiving income if the basis for denial or suspension is failure to pay overdue child support; [D.]  if the individual failed to comply with a subpoena or warrant relating to paternity or child support proceedings after receiving notice; and [E.] whether the driver’s license or car registration or professional, business, recreational, or sporting license, should be suspended, or the issuance or renewal should be denied.

It should be known that if the Clerk of the Court has notified the Mayor that the individual has failed to comply with the District of Columbia Process Service for a subpoena or warrant relating to paternity or child support proceedings or if they are receiving income and still owe child support, and the individual presents no evidence that they have complied with the terms of the agreement, then the license or registration will be suspended, or the request for the issuance or renewal of the license or registration will be denied.

If the individual is a member of the District of Columbia Bar, the Clerk of the Court will have to send a written District of Columbia Process Service notice to the Board of Professional Responsibility so that appropriate action may be taken. No liability shall be imposed on a licensing authority for refusing to renew, refusing to issue, or suspending a registration or license if the action is taken in response to a court or administrative order.

For more information on serving evictions papers, contact Undisputed Legal our District of Columbia Process Service department at (800) 774-6922. Representatives are available Monday-Friday 8 am – 8 pm EST.  If you found this article helpful, please consider donating.  Thank you for following our blog, A space dedicated to bringing you news on breaking legal developments, interesting articles for law professionals, and educational material for all. We hope that you enjoy your time on our blog and revisit us!  We also invite you to check out our Frequently Asked Questions About Process Servers.

Sources

1. Title IV of the Social Security Act is administered by the Department of Health and Human Services. The Office of Family Assistance administers benefit payments under Title IV, Parts A, and C. The Administration for Public Services, Office of Human Development Services, administers social services under Title IV, Parts B, and E. The Office of Child Support Enforcement administers the child support program under Title IV, Part D.

Title IV appears in the United States Code as §§601–687, subchapter IV, chapter 7, Title 42.

2. Child Support Recovery Act of 1992 STATUTORY REFERENCE: 18 U.S.C. § 228

3. Child Support Recovery Act of 1992 IM-96-04 Publication Date: August 21, 1996, Information Memorandum IM-96-04
The Child Support Recovery Act of 1992 (CSRA) was enacted by Congress on October 25, 1992, making it a Federal crime to willfully fail to pay support for a child living in another State. The elements of this crime require that the support obligation be determined by a court or administrative order; that the noncustodial parent and the child to whom the support is owed reside in different States; that the nonpayment of support be willful; and that the past-due support has remained unpaid for over a year or total more than $5000.

The Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) have been working together to coordinate the implementation of this Act. OCSE and DOJ have stressed the importance of effective working relationships between the State and Local IV-D offices and their respective U.S. Attorney Offices (USAOs).

4. The Deadbeat Parents Punishment Act made it a federal crime for a parent who willfully failed to make child support payments by traveling or moving to another state to avoid making these payments. A parent can be charged with this crime if he or she meets the criteria above and either failed to make support payments for more than a year or that amounted to more than $5,000

5. Enforcement by contempt is expressly authorized by D.C. Code § 16-1005 (f). The party alleged to be in contempt has no right to a jury trial under either the Constitution or the law of the District of Columbia as long as the penalty for such offense is not more than six months. Therefore, contempt proceedings may be heard by a single judge within the Domestic Violence Unit or Family Division or may be certified to the Criminal Division for proceedings consistent with the above statute and this rule. The penalties prescribed for criminal contempt are set forth in D.C. Code § 16-705. 

6. In re Robertson, 19 A.3d 751 (D.C. 2011)

7. For information or District of Columbia Process Service purposes, individuals should contact the office at 202-442-9900

8. (b-1) As used in this section, the terms ‘professional license’ and ‘business license’ include any approval, certificate, registration, permit, statutory exemption, or other forms of permission to practice a profession or trade, or to operate a business, as granted by a commission, agency, or a professional licensing body of the government of the District of Columbia. The terms ‘recreational license’ and ‘sporting license’ include any approval, certificate, registration, permit, statutory exemption, or other forms of permission to hunt, fish, use playing fields, participate in an athletic league, operate a boat, or other recreational vehicles for a non-business purpose, or operate or own a weapon for a non-business purpose, as granted by a commission, agency, or a licensing body of the government of the District of Columbia.

9. The notice shall also state that if a party or witness is deaf, or because of a hearing impediment cannot readily understand or communicate the spoken English language, the party or witness may apply to the agency for the appointment of a qualified interpreter.

10. As set forth in §§ 2-509 and 2-510.

11. Who is receiving income in an amount equal to at least 60 days of support

12. This payment schedule will be subject to the limitations of the Consumer Credit Protection Act, approved May 29, 1968 (82 Stat. 146; 15 U.S.C. § 1601 et seq.)

 

HOW TO FILE FOR CHILD SUPPORT IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA

Child Support

Undisputed Legal | District of Columbia Process Service

Every child deserves financial assistance from both of their parents for a bright future. By proving paternity, getting a child support court order, and collecting child support payments, the Attorney General’s Office’s Child Support Services Division may assist in getting financial support for the children. 

When an individual parent applies for child support services, and the assistance is not forthcoming, the Child Support Services Division can assist in the securing of financial support and encourage parents to pay child support by [A.] seizing tax returns [B.] denying or revoking passports, [C.] seizing lottery winnings, [D.] denying or revoking a DC driver’s license; [E.] placing a lien on property; [F.] notifying the credit reporting companies; or  [G.] freezing and seizing bank accounts

WHAT IS CHILD SUPPORT?

Maintenance and support that is given by one parent to the other or to the person who looks after their children are known as ‘child support.’   A child support order might contain a cash support order, but it may also include additional aid, including paying medical bills or providing healthcare for the children involved. 

In the District of Columbia, a child support case can be established when [A.] a custodial party opens the case or [B.] the case is referred from the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families office.  After a case has been established, the process moves to the next phase as the Child Support Services Division works with the custodial party to manage the case, and follow the steps needed to obtain payments from the non-custodial parent.  

WHO IS RESPONSIBLE TO FILE FOR CHILD SUPPORT IN DC

If the children spend the majority of their time with one parent, they may be entitled to child support. It is the legal responsibility of both parents to provide for their children. Regardless of whether the parents have joint custody, they can still be eligible to make a child support payment request. Even if both parents spend the same amount of time with the kid, a court may still compel one parent over the other to pay child support. When parents share physical custody, the parent with the higher income may be required to pay child support to the lower-income parent.

Custodial parties residing in DC are usually the ones to open a child support case.  To open a child support case in this manner, it is immaterial where the non-custodial parent lives.  CSSD will take the appropriate measures to seek an order of support from the non-custodial parent if they do not reside in DC, including designating it as an interstate action.

The Central Intake Centre of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia is where petitioners may submit a ‘Petition to Establish Paternity and/or for Child Support.’  The Child Support Services Division can also help in initiating a case, which is something that they may be requested to do. The Child Support Services Division can help with a child support case by [A.] establishing paternity; [B.] filing a petition for a child support court order; and [C.] helping the parent collect the child support payment.2

It should be known that when a Temporary Assistance for Needy Families  (TANF) or a Medicaid case is opened, the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families office will send case information to the child support office to open a child support case. This procedure is undertaken regardless of whether or not paternity has been established.  The custodial party is thereinafter supposed to assign rights when their case is referred from the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families office.

The Child Support Services Division will not attempt to collect child support from the non-custodial parent if the custodial parent is on Temporary Assistance for Needy Families if there is ‘good cause’ for the custodial parent not to assist Child Support Services Division in pursuing child support. If the custodial party believes that the non-custodial parent may harm the custodial party or the child, there is a ‘good cause’. To establish ‘good cause,’ the custodial party should appear to the CSSD office and ask for an ‘exemption for good cause’ by demonstrating that the non-custodial parent is a concern.

DETERMINATION AND VALUATION OF THE CHILD SUPPORT AWARD

The District of Columbia Child Support Guidelines is used to determine child support payments. Certain criteria mandated by law must be taken into account by a court when making a decision, including the [A.] gross income of both parents; [B.]  amount of any court-ordered child support paid by either parent for another child; [C.]  cost of the child’s health insurance and extraordinary medical expenses; [D.]  cost of reasonable childcare expenses for the child; [E.]  number of children in the child support case; [F.]  number of other biological or adopted children living in each parent’s home; and [G.] amount of time the child spends with each parent.

The judge in question should further take into account the parent’s capacity to support themselves financially. Parents who owe child support but do not make enough money to maintain their children will have a court determine how much child support they should be ordered to pay. It must be known that the judge will by default assume the capacity of the parent with limited income to pay USD75 per month for child support. However, if either party can persuade the court that the parent with low income cannot afford to pay USD 75 a month in child support, the judge will alter this presumption.

MODIFICATION OF THE CHILD SUPPORT AWARD

Every three years, either parent may ask the Child Support Services Division to arrange a hearing to have the child support order reviewed and modified if their case is being handled by that division. Both parents will be obliged to provide proof of their current earnings, daycare expenditures, medical bills, and insurance fees. Under the rules, the Child Support Services Division will determine just how much child support is to be paid. The Division or either parent may submit a motion to amend the child support order if the new amount is more than 15% difference from the previous order.

Any time there has been a significant and material change in circumstances, a parent may also submit a request to alter the child support order. Regardless of whether or not three years have elapsed, this motion may still be brought forward. For example, if the parent’s capacity to pay child support has shifted or the child’s financial need has altered, the circumstances can be considered to have changed.

HOW THE D.C. CHILD SUPPORT SERVICES DIVISION FILES A CASE.

Paternity and child support orders are established and enforced by the Child Support Services Division’s (CSSD) lawyers. The Child Support Services Division will not charge for its services if the individual is in receipt of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families or Medicaid. In the event someone does not qualify for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families or Medicaid, The Child Support Services Division may charge a five dollar application fee ( wherein the amount is required to be provided by money order or check only, payable to the D.C. Treasurer). Some services will have an additional fee or be deducted from the child support collected. In cases involving paternity and child support, CSSD represents the District of Columbia. In no way does CSSD advocate for particular parents or guardians.

It is necessary for individuals to telephone the requisite number to schedule an appointment or request an application. Then, it is necessary to complete and sign the application. The application must  enclose copies (not originals) of [A.] each child’s birth certificate; [B.] any separation agreements, divorce decrees, custody orders, or acknowledgments of paternity; [C.] any existing child support orders (certified); [D.] Proof of income; [E.] proof of D.C. residency; and [F.] proof of identification (government-issued photo I.D.)

The application packet must be mailed to the Child Support Services Division in the Office of the Attorney General.  Individuals can call or visit the office.  Additionally, it should be known that individuals do not need a lawyer to start a child support case, The relevant papers may be procured at the D.C. Superior Court Family Court Central Intake Center.

Paternity and Child Support Forms:

D.C Child Support Services Division IV-D Application

Answers, Motions, Opposition, Petitions etc.

FILING THE PLEADINGS

It is imperative to start a child custody case by filing the pleadings first. Consequently, the petition to Establish Paternity and/or Support must be completed. These documents should be taken to a central intake center in Washington, DC, being the DC Family Court. There is a filing fee of eighty dollars that must be paid via major credit cards, cash, or money order). The petitioner will be notified of a hearing date within forty-five days after filing the case. They will thereinafter get a Notice of Hearing and Order Directing Appearance (NOHODA) from the Central Intake Centre, which will include the date of the hearing.

HOW TO SERVE CHILD SUPPORT PAPERS IN D.C.

However, one of the most important parts of child custody would be to provide adequate service of the pleadings. This means that the parent who is receiving the petition must be served with copies of the petition and Notice Of Hearing and Order Directing Appearance.  Mostly, personal service would be preferred in these circumstances. Consequently, a majority of petitioners give the petition and Notice Of Hearing and Order Directing Appearance to the other parent directly by asking an adult who will not be interested in the case (who specifically is not a party to the case) to do so. This is not something that the petitioner can do on their own. If the petitioner does not have someone to hand the documents over to, it is imperative to consult a District of Columbia Process Service Agency.

Process Service is also done via Substitute Service at Home. Often, petitioners ask a non-party adult to physically deliver the petition and the Notice Of Hearing and Order Directing Appearance to another adult who resides at the house of the other parent.  This is not something that the petitioner can do on their own since they are thus barred by law. If the petitioner does not have someone to hand the documents over to, a District of Columbia Process Service who is professionally engaged to do so will be able to serve the documents. Substitute Service can also be done at the individual’s place of Work. An adult who is not involved in the case will be asked to go to the other parent’s place of employment and hand the petition and the Notice Of Hearing and Order Directing Appearance personally to another adult who works there.  

While it is not as common, Process Service can also be done via Certified Mail and First-Class Mail. For this, it would be necessary for the petitioner to mail the petition and Notice Of Hearing and Order Directing Appearance by certified mail -with the return receipt requested- to the other parent. This is something that the petition can accomplish on their own by going to the post office. After the letter is delivered, the post office will send the individual a return receipt (‘green card’) via mail. They will then send a second copy of the Notice Of Hearing and Order Directing Appearance to the other parent by first-class mail on the same day that the petitioner has sent the petition and the Notice Of Hearing and Order Directing Appearance via certified mail to the defendant.

The court will consider service ‘good’ if [A.]  the other parent signs the return receipt; or [B.] another adult who actually lives in the same home or works at the same place of employment as the other parent signs the return receipt.  If no one signs the return receipt, but the copy sent by first-class mail is not returned, service will be considered ‘good’ in a case involving child support, but not in a case involving paternity.

Process Service cannot be considered to be completed without filing an Affidavit of Service. Fundamentally, an Affidavit of Service certifies how the other parent was served in a court case. The filing of the affidavit is to be done at the Family Court Central Intake Center by the petitioner. The adult who served the other parent must complete the affidavit whether personal or substitute service was used. The affidavit must be completed if the other parent was served by certified and first-class mail.

Additionally, when the petition is to attend their hearing, they must bring proof of their income, health insurance expenses for the child, child care expenses, any extra expenses for the child, and any information about the other parent’s income that they may possess.

Internationally, parents’ obligations to give child support and their children’s entitlement to it have been acknowledged. The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child was signed by all UN member countries in 1992 is one such binding convention, although the United States is the only member nation that has not formally ratified it.  The Convention states that providing for the raising and development of children is a shared duty of both parents as well as a basic human right for children. It also says that the main obligation to provide for these aspects lies with the parents in the first place. The  New York Convention on the Recovery Abroad of Maintenance, which was drafted and approved under United Nations auspices in 1956, is another United Nations treaty and judgment relating to child support enforcement.

Children’s rights in the United States, mandate that each state create and publish a presumptively (but still rebuttable) guideline, and review it at least once every four years.

For more information on serving evictions papers, contact Undisputed Legal our District of Columbia Process Service department at (800) 774-6922. Representatives are available Monday-Friday 8 am – 8 pm EST.  If you found this article helpful, please consider donating.  Thank you for following our blog, A space dedicated to bringing you news on breaking legal developments, interesting articles for law professionals, and educational material for all. We hope that you enjoy your time on our blog and revisit us!  We also invite you to check out our Frequently Asked Questions About Process Servers.

Sources

1. D.C. Code § 16–916. Maintenance of spouse [or domestic partner] and minor children; maintenance of former spouse [or domestic partner]; maintenance of minor children; enforcement.

Whenever a spouse or domestic partner shall fail or refuse to maintain his or her needy spouse, domestic partner, minor children, or both, although able to do so, or whenever any parent shall fail or refuse to maintain his or her children by marriage since dissolved, although able to do so, the court, upon proper application and upon a showing of the genuine need of a spouse or domestic partner, may decree, pendent lite and permanently, that such spouse or domestic partner shall pay reasonable sums periodically for the support of such needy spouse or domestic partner and of the children, or such children, as the case may be, and the court may decree that he or she pay suit money, including counsel fees, pendent lite and permanently, to enable the plaintiff to conduct the case

2. D.C. Code § 46-205(5), (6)

(5) Terms providing for the payment of the child’s medical expenses, whether or not health insurance is available to pay for those expenses, which shall include a provision directing the obligor and obligee to notify the IV-D agency and the Court of the following:

(6) Notice that if the obligor is required under the support order to provide health insurance coverage for a child, the obligor’s employer will, upon receipt of notice of the health insurance coverage provision, enroll the child in health insurance coverage and deduct the premiums from the obligor’s earnings in accordance with §§ 1-307.41, 1-307.42, and subchapter II of this chapter;

3. D.C. Code § 16–901(8),  

4. D.C. Code § 16-916.01(q)(1), (q)(2)

5. D.C. Code § 16–916.01

6. D.C. Code § 16–916.01(g)(2)

(g-1) (2) If the judicial officer determines that the parent to whom support is owed can meet his or her subsistence needs, the judicial officer shall order the parent with a legal duty to pay support to pay what he or she would otherwise be required to pay pursuant to this section.

7. D.C. Code § 16–916.01(g)(3)

If the judicial officer determines that the parent to whom support is owed cannot meet his or her subsistence needs and the parent with a legal duty to pay support has an adjusted gross income below the self-support reserve under subsection (g) of this section, the judicial officer shall determine whether, for the support and maintenance of the child, the parent with a legal duty to pay support should pay more than he or she would otherwise be required to pay pursuant to subsection (g)(3) of this section.

8D.C. Code § 16–916.01(r)(2)

Every 3 years, in cases being enforced under Title IV, part D of the Social Security Act, approved January 4, 1975 (88 Stat. 2351; 42 U.S.C. § 651 et seq.), the IV-D agency shall notify both parents of the right to a review, and, if appropriate, a modification of the support order under the guideline. The IV-D agency shall conduct the review in all cases where there is an assignment of support rights pursuant to § 4-205.19, and at the request of either parent in all other cases. If the IV-D agency conducts a review, the IV-D agency shall inform both parents if a modification is warranted under the guideline, and shall petition for a modification of the support order when there is an assignment of support rights or if requested by a parent

9. D.C. Code § 16–916.01(r)(8)

If a motion to modify a support order pursuant to this section is accompanied by an affidavit that sets forth sufficient facts and guideline calculations and is accompanied by proof of service upon the respondent, the judicial officer may enter an order modifying the support order in accordance with the guideline unless a party requests a hearing within 30 days of service of the motion for modification. No support order shall be modified without a hearing if a hearing is timely requested

10. Individuals may call 202-442-9900 or go to the website at http://www.cssd.dc.gov to download an application

11. Child Support Services Division in
Office of the Attorney General
441 4th Street NW, Suite 550 North
Washington DC 20001

12. The hours are Monday through Friday, 8:15 a.m. to 4:45 p.m.

13. Individuals can get the legal papers (pleadings) required at www.dcbar.org/for-the-public/legal-resources/pro-se-pleadings.cfm

14. 45 CFR 302.56