Under Florida law, only sheriffs and certified Florida process servers can serve civil process. Fla. Stat. § 48.021; Fla. Stat. § 48.27. Requirements for certification vary by county and judicial circuits, but many judicial circuits have become involved in oversight of process servers. For example, the second and fifth judicial circuits have adopted the certification rules and have Certified Civil Florida Process Server Review Boards. (See, e.g., Fifth Circuit appended court order.) The courses have also imposed education requirements. New applicants for certification must attend a two- to three-hour seminar and take a 45-question, multiple-choice exam. The exam is given once a year. Upon renewal of their certification in their second year, Florida process servers must take the seminar and exam again.1
Florida Statute § 48.021 – process; by whom served
Florida Statute § 48.27 – certified Florida process servers.
Florida Statute § 48.29 – certification of Florida process servers
Florida Statute § 48.31 – removal of certified process servers; false return of service Florida Rule of Civil Procedure 1.070 – a process
Florida Second Judicial Circuit AO 2008-21 (2008)
FLORIDA STATUTE § 48.021 – PROCESS; BY WHOM SERVED
Fla. Stat. § 48.021 (2009) § 48.021. Process; by whom served
(1) All process shall be served by the sheriff of the county where the person to be done is found, except initial non-enforceable civil procedure may be performed by a unique Florida process server appointed by the sheriff as provided for in this section or by a certified Florida process server as provided for in ss. 48.25–48.31. Witness subpoenas may be served by any person authorized by rules of procedure.
(2) (a) The sheriff of each county may, at his or her discretion, establish an approved list of natural persons designated as special Florida process servers. The sheriff shall add to such a list the names of those natural persons who have met this section’s requirements. Each natural person whose name has been added to the approved list is subject to the sheriff’s annual recertification and reappointment. The sheriff shall prescribe an appropriate form for application for appointment. A reasonable fee for the processing of the application shall be charged.
(b) A person applying to become a unique Florida process server shall: 1. Be at least 18 years of age.
2. Have no mental or legal disability.
3. Be a permanent resident of the state.
4. Submit to a background investigation that includes the right to obtain and review the applicant’s criminal record.
5. Obtain and file with the application a certificate of good conduct that specifies there is no pending criminal case against the applicant and that there is no record of any felony conviction, nor a form of a misdemeanor involving moral turpitude or dishonesty, concerning the applicant within the past 5 years.
6. Submit to an examination testing the applicant’s knowledge of the laws and rules regarding process service. The sheriff must prescribe the review’s content and the passing grade thereon, the frequency, and the location at which the examination is offered. The test must be offered at least once annually.
7. Take an oath that the applicant will honestly, diligently, and faithfully exercise a particular process server’s duties.
(c) The sheriff may prescribe additional rules and requirements directly related to subparagraphs (b)1.-7, regarding the eligibility of a person to become a particular Florida process server or to have their name maintained on the list of special Florida process servers.
(d) An applicant who completes this section’s requirements must be designated as a unique process server provided that the sheriff of the county has determined that the appointment of special process servers is necessary or desirable. Each particular process server must be issued an identification card bearing his or her identification number, printed name, signature and photograph, and expiration date. Each identification card must be renewable annually upon proof of good standing.
(e) The sheriff shall have the discretion to revoke an appointment at any time that he or she determines a unique process server is not fully and properly discharging the duties as an individual Florida process server. The sheriff shall institute a program to determine whether the special process servers appointed for this section are faithfully discharging their obligations under such appointment. A reasonable fee may be charged for the costs of administering such a program.
(3) A unique process server appointed by this section shall be authorized to serve process in only the county where the sheriff who appointed him or she resides and may charge a reasonable fee for his or her services.
(4) Any unique process server shall be disinterested in any process he or she serves. If the unique process server willfully and knowingly executes a false return of service or otherwise violates the oath of office, he or she shall be guilty of a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided for in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084, and shall be permanently barred from serving process in Florida.
FLORIDA STATUTE § 48.27 – CERTIFIED PROCESS SERVERS
Fla. Stat. § 48.27 (2009) § 48.27. Certified process servers
(1) The chief judge of each judicial circuit may establish an approved list of natural persons designated as certified process servers. The chief judge may periodically add to such list the names of those natural persons who have met the certification requirements for in s. 48.29. Each person whose name has been added to the approved list is subject to annual recertification and reappointment by the judicial circuit’s chief judge. The chief judge shall prescribe appropriate forms for application for inclusion on the list of certified process servers. A reasonable fee for the processing of any such application must be charged.
(2) The addition of a person’s name to the list authorizes him or her to serve an initial non-enforceable civil process on a person found within the circuit where the process server is certified when a civil action has been filed against such person in the circuit court or a county court in the state. Upon filing an action in circuit or county court, a person may select from the list for the course where the process is to be served one or more certified process servers to serve initial non-enforceable civil process.
(3) Nothing herein shall be interpreted to exclude a sheriff or deputy or other person appointed by the sheriff under s. 48.021 from serving process or to exclude a person from appointment by individual motion and order to help function in any civil action by Rule 1.070(b) of the Florida Rules of Civil Procedure.
FLORIDA STATUTE § 48.29 – CERTIFICATION OF FLORIDA PROCESS SERVERS
Fla. Stat. § 48.29 (2009) § 48.29. Certification of process servers
(1) The circuit court administrator and the court clerk in each county in the circuit shall maintain the process servers’ list approved by the course’s chief judge. Such list may, from time to time, be amended or modified to add or delete a person’s name by the provisions of this section or s. 48.31.
(2) A person seeking the addition of his or her name to the approved list in any circuit shall submit an application to the chief judge of the course or the chief judge’s designee on a form prescribed by the court. A reasonable fee for processing the application may be charged.
(3) A person applying to become a certified process server shall: (a) Be at least 18 years of age;
(b) Have no mental or legal disability;
(c) Be a permanent resident of the state;
(d) Submit to a background investigation, which shall include the right to obtain and review the criminal record of the applicant;
(e) Obtain and file with his or her application a certificate of good conduct, which specifies there is no pending criminal case against the applicant and that there is no record of any felony conviction, nor a form of a conviction of a misdemeanor involving moral turpitude or dishonesty, concerning the applicant within the past 5 years;
(f) If prescribed by the chief judge of the circuit, submit to an examination testing his or her knowledge of the laws and rules regarding the service of process. The circuit’s chief judge shall prescribe the review’s content and the passing grade thereon, and the frequency and location at which such analysis shall be offered. The study, if any, shall be offered at least once annually;
(g) Execute a bond for $ 5,000 with a surety company authorized to do business in this state for the benefit of any person wrongfully injured by any malfeasance, misfeasance, neglect of duty, or incompetence of the applicant, in connection with his or her duties as a process server. Such bond shall be renewable annually; and
(h) Take an oath of office that he or she will honestly, diligently, and faithfully exercise the duties of a certified process server.
(4) The chief judge of the circuit may, from time to time by administrative order, prescribe additional rules and requirements regarding a person’s eligibility to become a certified process server or to have his or her name maintained on the list of certified process servers.
(5) (a) An applicant who completes the requirements outlined in this section and whose name the chief judge by order enters on the list of certified process servers shall be designated as a certified process server.
(b) Each certified process server shall be issued an identification card bearing his or her identification number, printed name, signature and photograph, the seal of the circuit court, and expiration date. Each identification card shall be renewable annually upon proof of good standing and current bond.
(6) A certified process server shall place the information provided in s. 48.031(5) on the copy served. A certified process server shall make a service return on a form that has been reviewed and approved by the court.
(7) (a) A person may qualify as a certified process server and have their name entered on the list in more than one circuit.
(b) A process server whose name is on a list of certified process servers in more than one circuit may serve process on a person found in any such courses.
(c) A certified process server may serve a foreign process in any circuit in which his or her name has been entered on the list of certified process servers for that circuit.
(8) A certified process server may charge a fee for his or her services.
FLORIDA STATUTE § 48.31 – REMOVAL OF CERTIFIED FLORIDA PROCESS SERVERS; FALSE RETURN OF SERVICE
Fla. Stat. § 48.31 (2009)
§ 48.31. Removal of certified process servers; false return of service
(1) A certified process server may be removed from the list of certified process servers for any malfeasance, misfeasance, neglect of duty, or incompetence, as provided by court rule.
(2) A certified process server must be disinterested in any process he or she serves; if the certified process server willfully and knowingly executes a false return of service, he or she is guilty of a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084, and shall be permanently barred from serving process in this state.
FLORIDA RULE OF CIVIL PROCEDURE 1.070 – PROCESS
Florida Rules of Civil Procedure Fla. R. Civ. P. 1.070 (2009)
Review Court Orders which may amend this Rule.
Rule 1.070. Process
(a) Summons; Issuance. –Upon the commencement of the action, summons or other process authorized by law shall be issued forthwith by the clerk or judge under the clerk’s or the judge’s signature and the court’s seal and delivered for service without praecipe.
(b) Service; By Whom Made. –Service of process may be made by an officer authorized by law to serve a function, but the court may appoint any competent person not interested in the action to help the process. When so set, the person doing the process shall make proof of service by affidavit promptly and in any event within the time during which the person served must respond to the process. Failure to produce evidence of service shall not affect the validity of the service. When any process is returned, not executed, or returned improperly completed for any defendant, the party causing its issuance shall be entitled to such additional process against the unserved party as is required to effect service.
(c) Service; Numerous Defendants. –If there is more than one defendant, the clerk or judge shall issue as many writs of process against the several defendants as may be directed by the plaintiff or the plaintiff’s attorney.
(d) Service by Publication. –Service of process by publication may be made as provided by statute.
(e) Copies of Initial Pleading for Persons Served. –At the time of personal service of process, a copy of the initial pleading shall be delivered to the party upon whom service is made. The date and hour of service shall be endorsed on the original process and all copies of it by the person doing the service. The party seeking to effect personal service shall furnish the person doing service with the necessary documents. When the service is made by publication, copies of the initial pleadings shall be provided to the clerk and mailed by the clerk with the notice of action to all parties whose addresses are stated in the initial pleading or sworn statement.
(f) Service of Orders. –If personal service of a court order is to be made, the original order shall be filed with the clerk, who shall certify or verify a copy of it without charge. The person doing service shall use the certified copy instead of the original order in the same manner as an actual process in doing service.
(g) Fees; Service of Pleadings. –The statutory compensation for doing service shall not be increased by the simultaneous delivery or mailing of the copy of the initial pleading in conformity with this rule.
(h) Pleading Basis. –When service of process is to be made under statutes authorizing service on nonresidents of Florida, it is sufficient to plead the basis for service in the language of the law without arguing the facts supporting service.
(i) Service of Process by Mail. –A defendant may accept service of process by mail. 243
(1) Acceptance of service of a complaint by mail does not thereby waive any objection to the venue or the court’s jurisdiction over the defendant’s person.
(2) A plaintiff may notify any defendant of the commencement of the action and request that the defendant waives service of a summons. The notice and request shall:
(A) be in writing and be addressed directly to the defendant, if an individual, or to an officer or managing or general agent of the defendant or other agent authorized by appointment or law to receive service of process;
(B) be dispatched by certified mail, return receipt requested;
(C) be accompanied by a copy of the complaint and shall identify the court in which it has been filed;
(D) inform the defendant of the consequences of compliance and of failure to comply with the request;
(E) state the date on which the request is sent;
(F) allow the defendant twenty days from the date on which the request is received to return the waiver, or, if the address of the defendant is outside of the United States, thirty days from the date on which it is received to return the waiver; and
(G) provide the defendant with an extra copy of the notice and request, including the waiver, as well as a prepaid means of compliance in writing.
(3) If a defendant fails to comply with a request for a waiver within the time provided herein, the court shall impose the costs subsequently incurred in effecting service on the defendant unless good cause for the failure is shown.
(4) A defendant who, before being served with process, timely returns a waiver so requested is not required to respond to the complaint until sixty days after the date the defendant received the request for waiver of service. For purposes of computing, any time prescribed or allowed by these rules, service of process shall be deemed effected 20 days before the time required to respond to the complaint.
(5) When the plaintiff files a waiver of service with the court, the action shall proceed, except as provided in subdivision (4) above, as if a summons and complaint had been served at the time of filing the waiver, and no further proof of service shall be required.
(j) Summons; Time Limit. –If service of the initial process and initial pleading is not made upon a defendant within 120 days after the filing of the initial pleading directed to that defendant, the court, on its own initiative after notice or on motion, shall require that service be effected within a specified time or shall dismiss the action without prejudice or drop that defendant as a party; provided that if the plaintiff shows good cause or excusable neglect for the failure, the court shall extend the time for service for an appropriate period. When a motion for leave to amend with the attached proposed amended complaint is filed, the 120- day period for service of amended complaints on the new party or parties shall begin upon the entry of an order granting leave to amend. A dismissal under this subdivision shall not be considered a voluntary dismissal or operate as an adjudication on the merits under rule
FLORIDA SECOND JUDICIAL CIRCUIT AO 2008-21 (2008)
IN THE CIRCUIT COURT FOR THE FIFTH JUDICIAL CIRCUIT
OF THE STATE OF FLORIDA
ADMINISTRATIVE ORDER NO. A-2008-21
ADMINISTRATIVE ORDER REGARDING CERTIFICATION AND REGULATION OF CIVIL PROCESS SERVERS AND ORDER ESTABLISHING THE FIFTH CIRCUIT CERTIFIED CIVIL PROCESS SERVER REVIEW BOARD AND RESCINDING ADMINISTRATIVE ORDER NUMBER A92-25A-2 WHEREAS, the number of applications for Certification as a Civil Process Server in the FiFth Circuit has increased dramatically; and WHEREAS, the administrative burden of certification and regulation of Civil Process Servers pursuant to Section 48.25, et seq., Florida Statutes, has increased comparatively to the increase in the number of application for Certification as a Civil Process Server; and WEREAS, the Legislature of the State of Florida clearly intended to supplement service of process by various Sheriffs of Florida Counties with an alternate means of service of civil procedure by Certified Civil Process Servers when it enacted 48.25, et seq., Florida Statutes; and WHEREAS, if this Court is to continue to exercise its discretionary power to certify and regulate Certified Civil Process Servers pursuant to 48.025, et seq., Florida Statutes, the procedures to be followed in the Fifth Judicial Circuit must be reformed and clarified; and WHEREAS, in order to efficiently and uniformly ensure proficiency and professionalism in the service of civil process and in keeping with public trust and legal importance of proper service of process; NOW, THEREFORE, I, Daniel B. Mesritt, Sr., pursuant to the authority vested in me as Chief Judge of the Fifth Judicial Circuit of Florida under Florida Rule of Judicial Administration 2.2 15, and being inore fully informed and advised in the premises, it is hereby
ORDERED as follows:
I. Definitions & Authority:
1) “Certified Process Sewer” means a natural person who has met the requirements for certification provided in Section 48.29, Florida Statutes and this Administrative Order, and who has been placed on the approved list of certified process servers by the Chief Judge of the Fifth Judicial Circuit.
2) “Board” means the Fifth Judicial Circuit Certified Civil Process Server Review Board, as established herein.
3) Authority of process sewers. Placement of an individual’s name on the
approved list of Certified Civil Process Servers authorizes him or her to serve, initial non-enforceable civil process on a person found within the circuit where the process sewer is certified when a civil action has been filed against such person the Circuit or County Court in this State. The Chief Judge may certify a civil process server in a specified Court or Counties within the Circuit rather than Circuit-wide in the Chief Judge’s discretion and/or upon request of the applicant.
II. Purpose: This Administrative Order is intended to ensure proficiency and professionalism in the civil process service and the public trust and legal importance of proper service of process.
III. Fifth Judicial Circuit Certified Civil Process Server Review Board:
1) Board Composition: The Fifth Judicial Circuit Certified Civil Process Server Review Board is hereby created to monitor the certification, conduct, and professionalism of persons certified under this Administrative Order and Section 48.25, et seq., Florida Statutes. The Board shall be under the supervisory authority of the Chief Judge of the Fifth Circuit. The Board shall be composed of one (1) Certified Civil Process Servers, one (1) licensed attorney who is a member of the Florida Bar, one (1) representative of a Clerk of Court within this Circuit who is familiar with the service of process, one (1) representative of the law enforcement community in this Circuit who is familiar with the service of operation, and one (1) additional individual to be determined by the Chief Judge. The Board shall be comprised of members as stated herein unless the Chief Judge otherwise appoints a member. All members shall be appointed by the Chief Judge of the Fifth Circuit. Service on the Board at the Chief Judge’s request shall be a condition of continued certification for the Certified Civil Process Server.
2) Officers: Quorum. Annually, the Board shall elect one of its members to serve as chair and one to serve as vice-chair. The Chair shall notify the Chief Judge of its selections to these positions in writing. A majority of the Board shall constitute a quorum.
3) Vacancies. Any vacancy on the Board shall be filled by appointment of the Chief Judge. A person appointed to fill a vacancy shall serve for the remainder of the
term of the member being replaced.
4) Terms. The initial terms of the Board members shall be as follows:
A. One ( I ) year: The first appointed Law Enforcement representative, the first representative of a Clerk of Court, and the first member of the Florida Bar appointed by the Chief Judge;
B. Two (2) years for all other first members appointed by the Chief Judge.
Following the initial terms, all terms shall be three years. Board members shall be eligible for reappointment. However, no person shall serve more than two consecutive 3-year terms without the Chief Judge’s prior approval.
5) Duties. The duties of the Board shall include the following:
A.The Board shall be responsible for the recommendation of certification and review of complaints and concerns regarding Certified Civil Process certification, receipt, and assessment of complaints and concerns to Certified Civil Process Servers, permit and inspection of responses of Certified Civil Process Servers to complaints, the conduct of hearings, and recommendations of the discipline of Certified Civil Process Servers to the Chief Judge.
B.The Board shall have the authority and discretion to adopt rules governing its operating procedures, which shall be submitted to the Chief Judge for approval.
C. The Board may make recommendations to the Chief Judge
regarding an amendment to the rules.
6) Fees. Applicants shall pay a first time application and testing fee of $250.00 payable to Florida. The annual renewal fee shall be $150.00 and shall be submitted with the request for renewal of certification. All Fees are non-refundable regardless of certification status.
7) Records. The Board or member designated by the Chair of the Board shall maintain records and minutes of its meetings, hearings, and other official actions.
8) Expenses. Members of the Board shall serve without compensation.
IV. Application for Certification.
A. Applicants seeking certification shall apply to the Board using the application form attached hereto as “Attachment A.” The application and testing fee must be included with the application. Any application submitted that does not have all necessary prices or documentation will not be considered or processed.
The Board shall accept applications for certification during regular working hours throughout the year.
Applicants must satisfy the following requirements to qualify for certification in the Fifth Circuit:
A. at least 18 years of age;
B. Have no mental or legal disability;
C. Re a permanent resident of this State;
D. Attest that they have read and become familiar with the laws and rules governing the service of process;
E. Take and pass a written examination administered by the Court and approved by the Chief Judge;
F. Submit to a background investigation, at the applicant’s expense, which shall include any criminal record of the applicant;
G. File with the Board a certificate of good conduct certifying:
H. there is no record of any pending criminal case, whether felony or misdemeanor, against the applicant;
I, there is no record of any felony conviction for which civil rights have not been restored;
J. there is no record of confidence of the applicant of a misdemeanor involving moral turpitude or dishonesty within the preceding five ( 5 ) years;
K. Take an Oath to Office that he/she will honestly, diligently, and faithfully exercise the duties of a Certified Process Server;
L. Execute and file with the Board a bond for $5,000.00with a surety company authorized to do business in this State to benefit any person injured by misfeasance, malfeasance, neglect of duty, or incompetence of the applicant in connection with his/her duties as a process server.
The Court shall develop and administer a written examination to all applicants seeking Certified Civil Process Server certification to ensure that such applicants possess a satisfactory level of understanding and knowledge of the laws and rules regarding the service of process. The contents of the examination shall be subject to the approval of the Chief Judge. A passing score shall be no less than 80% of the questions answered correctly. The test shall be administered not less than once a year, at such time and place as designated by the Court. The Court shall provide notice of the time and place of the test to all applicants.
VII. Issuance of Certification.
Upon satisfactory completion of the specified prerequisites, the Board shall recommend the applicant to the Chief Judge for entry on the list of Certified Civil Process Servers. If the Chief Judge is satisfied that the conditions have been adequately met, the Chief Judge shall issue an Order placing the applicant on the list of certified process servers and provide a copy of the Order to the Court Administrator and the Clerk of the Court for each County within the Fifth Circuit. ‘I’he Court Administrator and the Clerk of the Court for each County shall maintain a list of Certified Process Servers based upon the Court’s Order.
VIII. Identification Card.
Upon certification as a Certified Civil Process Server, the applicant shall be issued an identification card by the Court in the form prescribed by Section 48.29(5)(b), Florida Statutes. The applicant shall pay costs incident to the preparation and issuance of the card. Each identification card shall be renewable annually upon proof of good standing, current bond, and payment of the renewal fee set out in Section I11 (6) above.
IX. Renewal of Certificate.
A. Annual renewal. Each Certified Civil Process Server shall pay an annual $150.00 certificate renewal fee. A certificate shall be suspended automatically upon non-payment. Still, it shall be reinstated upon application to the Board, accompanied by payment, made within sixty (60) days of the suspension date. Upon expiration of the sixty (60) day grace period, the initial application fee of $250.00 must be paid, and the written examination must be retaken. Thereafter any request for reinstatement must be made under sections IV, V, and VI of this Order.
B. Biennial testing. ‘I’m assured that Certified Civil Process Servers have maintained adequate knowledge of current laws and rules applicable to service of process, renewal shall require the successful completion of the written examination within two years of the initial certification. A passing score for renewal shall be no less than 80% of the questions answered correctly. The renewal examination may be given more frequently and at different locations than the initial application. The Board may require every Certified Civil Process Server to submit to the written examination at any time before the renewal of higher certification.
C. The Board shall take action as required herein no later than March 15 of the then-current year for certification effective April 1 of that same year. All certificates shall be valid for one ( I ) year, except as outlined in Sections X through XIV hereof.
X. Prohibited Conduct, Generally
The following conduct is prohibited and may lead to disciplinary action:
a. accepting employment in which the Certified Civil Process Server has an interest or continuing job after becoming aware of the existence of a part;
b. making false or misleading statements or misrepresentations regarding other Certified Civil Process Servers in this Circuit to any person with the intent to obtain a business as a result of such false statements or misrepresentations or to deprive the subject Certified Civil Process Server from continued business;
c. making false statements or omissions to any person about the Certified Civil Process Server’s identity or legal authority to effect service of process;
d. continuation of false or deceptive advertising or other activity intended to generate business after receipt of a cease and desist letter from the Board; use of inappropriate, unprofessional, threatening, or intimating tactics to obtain client lists or other business records from other Certified Civil Process Servers’ offices or client’s offices; alcohol or drug abuse, physical incapacity, or mental instability which does or is likely to interfere with the performance of the duties of a Certified Civil Process Server; misrepresentation as to the identity of the party receiving service or the process server who actually delivered the service. (Note that knowingly executing a false return of service is a felony of the third degree); obtaining the certification by fraudulent means; having his/her certificate revoked in another state and/or circuit; has been the subject of a court order adjudicating the certified civil process server delinquent on his/her child support obligation accepting a gratuity, gift, or favor that might or appears to interfere or influence professional judgment; failing to maintain honesty in all professional dealings; malting malicious or intentionally false statements about a colleague; misrepresenting one’s own professional qualifications; submitting fraudulent information on any document in connection with professional activities; misrepresenting one’s own identity to avoid service of process; any other practices which constitute malfeasance, misfeasance, neglect of duty, or incompetence.
XI. Conduct Warranting Revocation of Certification.
A certificate issued under these rules may be revolted for any of the following reasons:
a. Conviction of a felony or a misdemeanor involving moral turpitude, dishonesty, or false statement;
b. Fraud, deceit, or corruption which is related to the functions and duties of a Certified Civil Process Server;
c. Fraud or misrepresentation in obtaining or renewing certification;
d. Nonpayment of renewal fees;
e. Engaging in any of the prohibited activities listed in Subsection XI
XII. Disciplinary Procedures.
A. Initiation. Disciplinary proceedings may be initiated before the Board either by a signed written complaint asserting or alleging a violation of these rules or by the Board on its own motion.
B. Probable Cause; Notification. If a majority of the Board finds probable cause to believe that a violation of these rules has occurred, it shall send written notice thereof, identifying the law or rules alleged to have been violated, to the Certified Civil Process Server by certified United States Mail to the last mailing address on file with the Board. The Board shall further notify the Chief Judge of its findings, who shall have the authority to temporarily suspend the Certified Civil Process Server certification pending the outcome of the disciplinary process set forth herein.
C. Response. Within thirty (30) calendar days of the issuance of a finding of probable cause, the Certified Civil Process Server shall file a written response with the Board. If the Certified Civil Process Server does not timely respond, the violations identified in finding probable cause shall be deemed admitted. An untimely response will be deemed a failure to respond.
D. Board Review. Within sixty (60) calendar days after the filing of the written response to the finding of probable cause or within sixty (60) calendar days following the expiration of the time within which to file a response (if none is filed or filed untimely), the Board shall review the complaint, the finding of probable cause, the response thereto (if any) and any other pertinent materials or information and decide whether to :
a. dismiss the proceeding;
b. issue a proposed disposition; or
c. set a hearing.
The Board shall promptly send a written notification of its decision to the Certified Civil Process Server by certified United States Mail to the last address on file with the Board.
E. No Hearing Demanded. A proposed disposition issued under subdivision (D)(b) above shall become final unless the Certified Civil Process Server demands a hearing on the decision within fifteen (15) calendar days from the date of the decision.
F. Timing of Hearing. Absent reasonable cause, no hearing shall take place less than thirty (30) days or more than ninety (90) days from the date of the notice under subdivision (D)(c) above or of the Certified Civil Process Server’s demand under subdivision (E) above.
G. Identity of Complainant. Upon written request filed with the Board after a hearing has been scheduled, the Board shall promptly reveal to the Certified Civil Process Server, the identity of the complaining party.
14. Legal Representation. The Certified Civil Process Server may be represented by an attorney at any stage of the proceeding. The Certified Civil Process Server shall be responsible for all of his or her own costs and expenses associated with the hearing and proceedings, including attorney fees.
XIII. Disciplinary Hearings.
A.I’re-Hearing Discovery. Pre-hearing discovery shall not be permitted unless expressly authorized by the Board in response to a written request.
B.Rules of Evidence. Strict rules of evidence shall not apply. The Board may, in its discretion, consider any evidence presented, including affidavits, giving such evidence the weight it deems appropriate.
C. Hearings to be Recorded. The Board shall ensure that all hearings are recorded by any means deemed appropriate by the Board.
D. Hearing Procedure. At the hearing, both the Board and the Certified Civil Process Server shall be allowed to introduce documents and other relevant evidence and elicit sworn testimony.
E. Board Deliberations. Following the presentation of evidence, the Board shall deliberate regarding its decision. Such deliberations shall take place in private.
F. Finality of Decision; Rehearing. Unless the Certified Civil Process Server files a request for rehearing within ten (1 0) calendar days from the date of the decision, the Board’s decision shall be deemed final and forwarded to the Chief Judge as a recommendation disposition. If a timely request for rehearing is filed with the Board, the board’s decision shall not be forwarded to the Chief Judge until the appeal has been disposed of by written judgment. A copy of the decision shall be sent to the Certified Civil Process Server by certified United States Mail to the last address on file with the Board. Thereafter, the written decision on the request for rehearing and the board’s decision shall be forwarded to the Chief Judge.
XIV. Disciplinary Dispositions.
A. Burden of Proof. If the Board finds clear and convincing evidence that the Certified Civil Process Server has violated one or more of the rules set forth herein, it shall recommend to the Chief Judge such discipline as it may deem appropriate, consistent with this Order.
B. Vote Required; Notification. All decisions of the Board shall be made by a majority vote, in writing and, if adverse to the Certified Civil Process Server, shall contain factual findings supporting the decision. A copy of the decision shall be sent to the Certified Civil Process Sever by certified United States mail.
C. Sanctions. Discipline recommended by the Board and imposed by the Chief Judge may consist of one or more of the following:
1. A reprimand from the Board;
II. A reprimand from the Chief Judge;
III. The imposition of costs and expenses incurred by the board connected with the proceeding, including recording and investigation; iv. Restitution;
IV Requiring the Certified Civil Process Server certification examination be successfully taken or retaken;
V. Limiting the geographic scope of the practice by county;
VI. Suspension of certification not to exceed one (1) year, after which the individual may seek reinstatement of his/her certificate as provided in Section (IX) hereof, and upon any other conditions the Chief Judge may deem appropriate;
VII. Revocation of the certificate.
D. If, after reviewing the Board’s recommendation and factual findings, the Chief Judge determines that sanctions are appropriate, the Chief Judge shall enter an Order Imposing Sanctions. The Office of the Court Administrator and the Clerk of the Court for each County shall update the list of Certified Civil Process Servers with notations or removals based on these Court orders.
XV. Confidentiality of Disciplinary Proceedings.
When a disciplinary proceeding is either dismissed or results in a reprimand from the Board, all records of the proceeding shall remain confidential; otherwise, all such documents shall become public record when the Chief Judge makes a final disposition.
XVI. Review of Adverse Disciplinary Dispositions.
Within thirty (30) days of a final adverse disciplinary disposition after a hearing, the Certified Civil Process Server may seek review by common law certiorari to the Fifth District Court of Appeals under Rule 9.100, Florida Rules Appellate Procedure.
A Certified Civil Process Server whose certificate has been revoked may apply in writing for reinstatement. Such request shall explain why the applicant believes that he/she should be reinstated and shall include a renewal fee of $150.00. Whether to recommend to the Chief Judge for or against such a request shall rest in the board’s sole and absolute authority and discretion. The Board may recommend such conditions upon reinstatement as it deems appropriate.
XVIII. Effective Date.
The rules promulgated by this Order shall take effect immediately upon the entry thereof. ADMINISTRATIVE ORDER NUMBER A92-25A-2 IS HEREBY RESCINDED. IT IS SO ORDERED in Chambers, in Brooksville, Hernando County, Florida, on this Today of July 2008.
FIFTH JUDICIAL CIRCUIT
FIFTH JUDICIAL CIRCUIT
CERTIFIED PROCESS SERVER APPLICATION PERSONAL DATA
Last First Initial
Number and Street City State Zip
P.O. Box City State Zip
TELEPHONE (B) (H)
Request posting of mailing address and business phone number on the certified process server web page.Yes/No
SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER
IF ALIEN, check which type of work authorization you have:
Alien Registration Form I- 1 5 1
Refugee Status Form 1-94
File Number of Form
If NATURALIZED, record the following forms of identification:
Naturalization Certificate Number
U.S. Passport Number
Voter’s Registration Number
ARE YOU 18 OR MORE YEARS OLD?
DATE OF BIRTH
DO YOU HAVE ANY MENTAL OR LEGAL DISABILITIES?
If so, list:
ARE YOU A PERMANENT FLORIDA RESIDENT?
HAVE YOU EVER BEEN A MEMBER OF THE U.S. ARMED SERVICES?
Type of discharge: HONORABLE GENERAL OTHER
If other, explain:
PLEASE LIST YOUR RESIDENCES FOR THE PAST FIVE YEARS IN REVERSE
Number & Street City State Zip
Number & Street City State Zip
Number & Street City State Zip
Number & Street City State Zip
Number & Street City State Zip
PLEASE LIST THE SCHOOLS WHICH YOU ATTENDED IN CHRONOLOGICAL
ORDER BEGINNING WITH HIGH SCHOOL.
School Level Name —
Number & Street City Zip Dates Attended
School Level Name Number & Street City. Zip
Graduate Y/N Major Degree School Level Name
Number & Street City Zip
Dates Attended Graduate Y/N Major Degree
Number & Street City Zip
Dates Employed Position
Number & Street City Zip Dates Employed Position Employer
Number & Street
Dates Employed Position
OCCUPATIONAL / PROFESSIONAL LICENSES OR CERTIFICATES
DATE OBTAINED RENEWAL DATE
DRIVER’S OR CHAUFFEUR’S LICENSE
RACE HEIGHT WEIGHT
HAIR COLOR EYE COLOR
DO YOU HAVE ANY IDENTIFYING MARKS? IF SO, PLEASE LIST THE TYPE OF MARK AND ITS LOCATION CRIMINAL HISTORY. PLEASE LIST ANY OFFENSE FOR WHICH YOU HAVE BEEN CONVICTED OR ANY CHARGE AGAINST YOU CURRENTLY.
Offense County State Date
Offense County State Date
Offense County State Date Offense County
Offense County State Date
I HEREBY CERTIFY that all information provided on this application is accurate, including any information implied by omission. I understand that any misinformation supplied herein shall result in immediate forfeiture of any opportunity to become or remain a certified process server in the Fifth Judicial Circuit.
FIFTH JUDICIAL CIRCUIT
CERTIFIED PROCESS SERVER
CERTIFICATE OF GOOD CONDUCT
STATE OF FLORIDA
Before me, this day personally appeared who, being first duly sworn, deposes and says:
1. There is no criminal case pending against him/her.
2. There is no record of any felony conviction against him/her.
3. There is no record of a misdemeanor’s conviction involving moral turpitude or dishonesty against him/her within the past 5 years.
Subscribed and sworn to before me this day of, Personally known or produced identification type of identification produced
STATE OF FLORIDA
OATH OF OFFICE OF CERTIFIED PROCESS SERVER
1. Process Server, a citizen of the state of Florida and the United States of America, being appointed a certified process server within the jurisdiction of the Fifth Judicial Circuit of the state of Florida, do hereby solemnly swear or affirm that I will support the constitution of the United States and the state of Florida, and that I will faithfully execute my duties as a certified process server under the provisions of §48, Florida Statutes.
Florida Drivers License Number Signature Subscribed and sworn to before me this day of Personally known or produced identification Type of identification made.
AFFIDAVIT OF SERVICE
STATE OF FLORIDA COUNTY OF COURT
Before me, the undersigned authority, personally appeared, being first duly sworn, deposes and says:
- Affiant is not a party to nor interested in the outcome of the above case and is over 18 years.
2. Affiant received the attached
3. Affiant personally served same upon who was then at
4. I have been properly certified as a process server by Administrative Order 92-25A-2 and am currently licensed to serve process under the order’s provisions.
INDIVIDUAL SERVICE: By delivering to the within a named person a real copy of the process, with the date and hour of service endorsed by me. At the same time, I delivered a copy of the complaint, petition, or other initial pleading or paper to them within a named person.
SUBSTITUTE SERVICE: By leaving a real copy of this process, with the date and hour of service endorsed thereon by me, and a copy of the complaint, petition, or other initial pleading or paper, at the within named person’s place of abode with any person residing therein who is 15 years of age or older and informing the person of the contents. Name Relationship
CORPORATE SERVICE: By delivering a real copy of this process with the date and hour of service endorsed thereon by me and a copy of the complaint, petition, or other initial pleading or paper to:
Name Title Corporate Name As president, vice president,
or other head of the corporation; or in their absence, the cashier, treasurer, secretary, or general manager; or in their absence, any officer or business agent residing in the state; or the resident agent; or and employee at the corporation’s place of business due to failure of the registered agent to comply with $48,09 1 and informing them of their contents.
POSTED RESIDENTIAL: By attaching a copy of this process, together with a copy of any attachments, to a conspicuous place on the property described within. Neither the tenant(s) nor a resident 15 years of age or older could be found at the tenant(s) usual place of residence after 2 attempts at least 6 hours apart.
OTHER: By delivering a real copy of this process, with any attachments provided, NON-SERVICE: And hereby return same unserved on
for the reason that after diligent search and inquiry, the within named could not be found in County, Florida. Affiant Address Sworn to and subscribed before me this day of affiant who is personally known to me or produced identification. Type of label built Notary Public
PROCESS SERVER’S BOND
KNOW ALL MEN BY THESE PRESENTS: That we, as principal, and
a corporation duly licensed to make, guarantee or becoming a sole surety upon bonds, or undertakings, required by the laws of the state of Florida, as Surety are held and firmly bound unto the State of Florida, Fifth Judicial Circuit, for $5,000, lawful money of the United States of America, for the payment whereof well and truly to be made, we bind ourselves, our heirs, executors, successors and assigns, jointly and severally, firmly by these presents.
THE CONDITION OF THE FOREGOING OBLIGATION IS SUCH. THAT WHEREAS, if the above-bounded principal shall well, indeed, and faithfully comply with the provisions of statutes in the State of Florida, then this obligation shall be null and void, otherwise to remain in full force and effect. The surety hereunder may relieve itself from liability to the extent and in the manner outlined in the provisions of the statutes governing the termination by the surety of liability under the bond provided; however, that in no event shall it be relieved from liability as respects transactions occurring before the date of termination.
If the surety so elects, this bond may be canceled by giving 30 days’ written notice to the obligee. This bond shall be in effect from and expires on Signed and sealed this day of
Principal (print or type name) Name of Surety By:
Signature of Principal Attorney in fact Address of Surety
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