HOW TO SERVE LEGAL PAPERS IN NEW JERSEY

New Jersey

Undisputed Legal | New Jersey Process Service

Each jurisdiction has rules regarding the appropriate service of process. Generally, service of summons allows for the jurisdiction of the relevant court on them. The individual is thus subject to the jurisdiction, provided that the state where the district court is located has been joined under federal rules and has served the documents within a hundred miles from the place where the summons was issued or when a federal statute authorizes such service. 

If under federal rule, however, personal jurisdiction can be established if the defendant is not subject to general jurisdiction in any state court and if such exercise of jurisdiction is consistent with the laws of the United States.  However, the dismissal of any action can be done without prejudice to the defendant if they have not been served within a hundred and twenty days of the complaint being filed. Consequently, hiring a capable process server is necessary to ensure that an individual is competent to carry out process service without tampering with the confidential documents served.

WHAT DOES A PROCESS SERVER IN JERSEY HAVE TO DO

Process servers in the state of New Jersey have no licensing requirement though summons needs to be coupled with a copy of the complaint.  People responsible for the same can be [A.] the sheriff, [B.] a person specially appointed by the court for that purpose,  [C.] the plaintiff’s attorney or the attorney’s agent, or [D.] any other competent adult not having a direct interest in the litigation.

New Jersey Process Service, is the procedure employed to give appropriate notice of initial legal action to another party (such as a defendant), court, or administrative body in an effort to exercise jurisdiction over that person so as to enable that person to respond to the proceeding before the court, body, or other tribunals. Notice is furnished by delivering a set of court documents (called ‘process’) to the person to be served.

New Jersey Process Service of court documents will be performed only by experienced New Jersey process servers who meet all of the latest licensing, education, and bonding New Jersey Process Service  requirements imposed by the jurisdiction in which they operate

HOW TO SERVE A SUMMONS

The plaintiff, the plaintiff’s attorney, or the clerk of the court can issue the summons. If a summons is not issued within ten days after the filing of the complaint the action may be dismissed. Separate or additional summonses may be issued against any defendants if necessary for New Jersey Process Service

Signed by the Superior Court Clerk and sent to the defendant, this summons will have to be issued by the state to comply with New Jersey Process Service. In the event that a defendant fails to respond to a summons or summons and complaint, a judgment by default may be issued for the relief sought in the complaint. In this case, the summons must include the name and address of the plaintiff’s attorney or the plaintiff’s address.

WHO CAN SERVE A SUMMONS

A summons and a copy of the complaint must be served jointly by the sheriff, a person expressly authorized by the court for the purpose of the New Jersey Process Service.  New Jersey Process Service can also be done by the plaintiff’s attorney or the attorney’s agent, or by any other competent adult who does not have a direct interest in the lawsuit. A reasonable and good faith effort to serve the defendant in person, coming up in the proof of service which may be made by registered or certified mail. This is done to the defendant’s usual residence or to a person to accept New Jersey Process Service for the defendant or, with postal instructions for delivery to addressee only.

It is possible to serve a defendant through ordinary mail if the recipient refuses to accept or claim delivery of registered or certified mail. If the recipient refuses to claim or accept delivery of registered mail and if the ordinary mailing is not returned, the simultaneous mailing will constitute an effective New Jersey Process Service. Only in some conditions may mail be addressed to a post office box instead of a street address, but the return of service is to be done always.

Unless the court otherwise orders, all writs and process to enforce a judgment or order shall be served by the sheriff.

IN PERSONAM JURISDICTION OF THE COURTS IN NEW JERSEY

The primary method of obtaining personal jurisdiction over a defendant as per the New Jersey Process Service is by causing the summons and complaint to be personally served. Personal service may be done upon a competent individual of the age of fourteen or over, by delivering a copy of the summons and complaint to the individual personally. It is also acceptable to complete New Jersey Process Service by or by leaving a copy thereof at the individual’s place of abode with a competent member of the household as long as they are over the age of fourteen, or by delivering a copy thereof to a person authorized to receive New Jersey Process Service on the individual’s behalf.

Upon individual proprietors and real property owners, New Jersey Process Service can be done provided the action arises out of a business in which the individual is engaged within New Jersey or out of any real property or interest in real property owned by the individual. After this is done, New Jersey Process Service can be completed by delivering a copy of the summons and complaint to the individual if competent. If not, New Jersey Process Service will be directed to a managing or general agent employed by the individual in such business or for the management of such real property. If New Jersey Process Service cannot be made in that manner, then  New Jersey Process Service is instead achieved by delivering a copy of the summons and complaint to any employee or agent of the individual within New Jersey acting in the discharge of his or her duties in connection with the business or the management of the real property.

SUBSTITUTED SERVICE AND IN PERSONAM JURISDICTION

If an affidavit fulfilling the standards establishes that personal service cannot be achieved after careful effort and investigation, then, compatible with due process of law, in personam jurisdiction above any defendant will be established.

New Jersey Process Service may be made in any state of the United States or the District of Columbia in the same manner as if that state is New Jersey. However, a major exception is that New Jersey Process Service can be done by a public official authorized to serve civil process in the jurisdiction in which service is made. This is also applicable when it comes to a person qualified to practice law or the jurisdiction in which New Jersey Process Service is made.  New Jersey Process Service may instead be done by a person specially appointed by the court. Personal service outside the United States’ territorial jurisdiction will be designed in line with any relevant international treaty or convention to the extent New Jersey Process Service will be required by certain treaties or conventions.

New Jersey Process Service is also done by mailing a copy of the summons and complaint by registered or certified mail, return receipt requested, and, simultaneously, by ordinary mail to a competent individual of the age of fourteen or over, addressed to the individual’s dwelling house or usual place of abode.  New Jersey Process Service can also be done on a corporation, partnership, or unincorporated association that falls under suit under a recognized name, addressed to a registered agent for New Jersey Process Service, or to its principal place of business, or to its registered office. Mail may be addressed to a post office box in lieu of a street address only as specified. If New Jersey Process Service can be made by any of the modes provided by this rule, no court order shall be necessary. If New Jersey Process Service cannot be made by any of the modes provided by this rule, any defendant may be served as provided by court order, consistent with due process of law.

HOW TO SERVE THE STATE OF NEW JERSEY ITSELF

New Jersey Process Service can be done by registered, certified, or ordinary mail of a copy of the summons and complaint. However, New Jersey Process Service upon the state is also acceptable if done via personal delivery of a copy of the summons and complaint to the Attorney General or to the Attorney General’s designee named in a writing filed with the Clerk of the Superior Court. No default is entered for failure to appear unless personal service has been made.

 In a specific action, the notice in lieu of summons should follow the prescribed form. If this is done, it will be then served, together with a copy of the complaint, by the Attorney General or designee as per New Jersey Process Service. However, the caveat is that if the lien or encumbrance arises by reason of a recognizance entered into in connection with any proceeding in the Superior Court or any criminal judgment rendered, the notice, together with a copy of the complaint, will be served on the county prosecutor in a writing filed with the Clerk of the Superior Court.

RETURN OF SERVICE

On the original and in Superior Court cases also on the copy, the person serving the New Jersey Process Service must make proof of service and immediately deposit such New Jersey Process Service with the court within that time period. The evidence of New Jersey Process Service must include the name of the person served, as well as the location, manner, and date of service, and a copy of New Jersey Process Service must be sent to the plaintiff’s counsel immediately.

Proof of service mandates that a member of the household be served, and evidence must include the individual’s identity or a description of the person served. Any other person serving the summons and complaint must provide an affidavit attesting to their diligence in finding the defendant’s residence, place of business, or place of work before they may be considered to have made service. To prove service by mail, the serving party must file an affidavit that includes documentation of the failure to carry out personal service and proof of the affiant’s diligent search for the defendant’s place of dwelling, business, or place of work.

 The affidavit or affidavits of inquiry must be attached to the evidence. The return receipt card or the unclaimed registered or certified mail must be submitted as evidence when service is made by registered or certified mail and normal mail at the same time. The validity of the New Jersey Process Service is unaffected if evidence of said New Jersey Process Service is not provided.

The person serving the process may file an additional or amended proof of service within the time provided. The court may thereafter allow any process or proof of service thereof to be amended upon such terms as it deems appropriate unless such amendment would materially prejudice the rights of the party against whom process issued. 

SUBPOENA IN NEW JERSEY

An amended proof gives the person serving the process the opportunity to provide extra or updated evidence of the New Jersey Process Service. Any further amendments to a process or evidence of service may be permitted by the court on the circumstances it determines to be appropriate unless doing so would seriously harm the interests of the party against whom the process was issued.

TYPES OF WITNESSES

  1. FACT WITNESSES. A fact witness is called upon only to verify facts pertinent to the case. Only in the county where the person lives, works, or transacts business in person may a subpoena for a deposition be issued, and only at a time and location that is reasonably convenient for the individual. It is permitted for a nonresident of this state to be subpoenaed inside the state only at a time and place that is fairly convenient for them and in the county in which they are served, or at such other suitable location as the court orders.`

     All costs and lost wages spent by witnesses in attending depositions must be reimbursed by the party that subpoenas the witness unless the witness is already subject to deposition on notice.

  2. EXPERT WITNESSES AND TREATING PHYSICIANS. Unless the court orders otherwise, the party taking the deposition must pay for the witness’ travel time and costs if the deposition is taken anywhere other than the witness’ home or place of business when the expert or treating is a New Jersey resident or employee. In the United States, under the Federal Rule of Evidence 702 (FRE), an expert witness must be qualified on the topic of testimony.

    There are two options for bringing in an expert or treating physician who does not work or live in New Jersey: [A.] bring the witness to the county where the action is pending or another location in New Jersey agreed upon by all parties, or [B.] pay all reasonable travel and lodging expenses incurred by all parties to attend the witness’ out-of-state deposition.

The subpoena must be served on the witness and all parties no less than ten days before the date set for the deposition, and the parties have the right to view and copy the evidence provided at the time of the deposition. All other parties must be notified immediately of the receipt of evidence from a witness who was subpoenaed but did not appear at the deposition, and the evidence must be made accessible for examination or copying to all other parties.

It is possible for a deposition to be taken even if the party who gave notice of the deposition does not show up, or if a subpoena is not served on an individual who does not show up. The court may, therefore, order the party who gave the notice to pay to such an individual.

For more information on serving legal papers, contact Undisputed Legal our New Jersey 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 accordance with R. 4:37-2(a)

2. If the action is contested and the papers have been sent by Trenton’s Clerk to a different location, an answer shall be filed with the deputy clerk of the Superior Court in the county of venue, unless and until that location has been designated as the location of the action, in which case an answer shall be filed with the clerk of the Superior Court in that location.

3. return receipt requested

4. Service upon a minor under the age of 14 is done by delivering a copy of the summons and complaint personally to a parent or the guardian of the minor’s person or to a competent adult member of the household with whom the minor resides

5. I.e. action under N.J.S.A. 2A:45-1 et seq. (lien or encumbrance held by the State)

6. This is applicable if the name cannot be determined

7. Rule 702. Testimony by Expert Witnesses

A witness who is qualified as an expert by knowledge, skill, experience, training, or education may testify in the form of an opinion or otherwise if:

(a) the expert’s scientific, technical, or other specialized knowledge will help the trier of fact to understand the evidence or to determine a fact in issue;

(b) the testimony is based on sufficient facts or data;

(c) the testimony is the product of reliable principles and methods; and

(d) the expert has reliably applied the principles and methods to the facts of the case.

Notes

(Pub. L. 93–595, §1, Jan. 2, 1975, 88 Stat. 1937; Apr. 17, 2000, eff. Dec. 1, 2000; Apr. 26, 2011, eff. Dec. 1, 2011.)

8. This is also the case if another party attends in person or by an attorney because that party expects a deposition of that individual to be taken.

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