This article will provide guidance on What Do Process Servers in Massachusetts Do? In Massachusetts, serving a summons requires strict adherence to state laws and regulations. The first step in serving a summons in Massachusetts must be hiring a licensed private Massachusetts process service agency like Undisputed Legal which is authorized to serve legal documents in the state. At Undisputed Legal, we can help you prepare the documents from scratch and comply with the requirements of Massachusetts law so that your papers are taken care of.
Our process servers will then deliver the summons to the defendant in accordance with Massachusetts law. This typically involves serving the summons in person, leaving the summons with a responsible adult at the defendant’s residence or place of business, or mailing the summons through certified mail.
It is important to note that failure to serve a summons properly can result in legal consequences, including delays in the legal process and potential dismissal of the case. As such, working with Undisputed Legal means placing your papers (and your trust!) in a process service agency familiar with Massachusetts laws and regulations regarding the service of process.
ISSUANCE OF A SUMMONS IN MASSACHUSETTS
A private process server must serve a copy of the complaint and a summons upon the defendant. A defendant may be served with a summons and complaint in a proceeding or with a separate summons and complaint. The summons is available in blank form from the clerk and must be completed by the plaintiff or counsel.
The summons must be signed or verified by the clerk’s facsimile signature, under the court’s seal, in the name of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. The summons is usually accompanied by the sign of the first justice of the court and should contain the court’s name and the parties’ names. The summons must be addressed to the defendant, state the name and address of the plaintiff, and state the time the defendant must appear.
Our Undisputed Legal process servers are trained professionals who understand the importance of their role in the legal process. We are dedicated to providing timely and accurate service of process to ensure that legal proceedings can move forward smoothly.
DELIVERING A SUMMONS IN MASSACHUSETTS
The plaintiff must pay for a process server to deliver copies of the summons and complaint to each defendant. By agreeing to accept service, the defendant indicates that the process server may personally deliver them a copy of the summons and complaint. Undisputed Legal process servers will then deliver the original, signed summons to the court as evidence of service. The defendant must sign the original summons where it states ‘Acceptance of Service’ in the presence of a notary public.
If service is made, the server will complete the ‘Return of Service’ section on page two of the original summons, one for each defendant. Then the party uses the Return of Service to show the court that each defendant was served with the process. A certified or registered postal receipt signed by the defendant is sufficient evidence of service. Every individual other than a sheriff, deputy sheriff, or special sheriff who serves a defendant with legal documents must provide an Affidavit (a written declaration signed under the pains and penalties of perjury) detailing the manner in which service was done on each defendant.
Within ninety days of the complaint being filed, the party must submit (deliver to the court) the original (not a duplicate) of each summons with the signed Return of Service or signed receipt or Affidavit. Although the court will accept copies of summonses, you will need to submit the originals within the allotted time. The defendant may be served by mailing the copies to their address or as directed by the appropriate foreign authority in response to a letter rogatory (a formal written request from the originating court where the case is filed to a foreign country acting through one of its courts.)
Our Undisputed Legal process servers are required to follow strict rules and regulations related to the service of process, and they can be held accountable if they fail to meet these standards. As a result, they are highly motivated to ensure that they provide accurate and timely service of process to their clients.
HOW TO SERVE LEGAL PAPERS IN MASSACHUSETTS
The party or their counsel may complete the mailing whenever service is authorized by certified or registered mail. The process server must serve both the summons and a copy of the complaint. The plaintiff must provide the server with any copies that are required. The summons and complaint may be served on an individual by personal service, by leaving copies thereof at the individual’s last known address, or through delivery to an agent authorized by appointment or by statute to receive service of process, with any additional notice required by such statute having been given. The court may, upon application of the plaintiff, issue an order of notice if the person authorized to serve the process makes a return that after diligent search, he can find neither the defendant nor the defendant’s last and usual abode, nor any agent upon whom service may be made. Service of the summons and complaint must be made within ninety days of filing the complaint. If this is not done, then the action will be dismissed as to that defendant without prejudice upon the court’s initiative with notice to such party or upon motion of the defendant.
Our Massachusetts process servers serve all manner of court papers, including but not limited to: summonses and complaints; divorce and family court documents; subpoenas and citations; small claims court cases; orders to show cause; petitions and discovery documents; eviction and landlord/tenant notices and motions; and more. At Undisputed Legal, we serve legal documents to everyone who needs service, including government institutions, private businesses, and individuals.
Our three (3) tiers of process service in Massachusetts are performed by local, experienced process servers who are residents of Massachusetts. All our clients can choose between [A.] Routine Service, wherein the server will make their first attempt at service within five to seven business days, or [B.] Rush Service, where the service will be done within forty-eight hours. We also offer an option for mailing papers, wherein the documents will be sent out within twenty-four hours.
We aim to assure our clients. Our Massachusetts process servers will make up to three (3) efforts to hand deliver your legal documents, regardless of your chosen service level. The only difference in the levels of service is the time they start. Still, our process servers will comply with due diligence requirements by serving the documents to the defendant in the morning, afternoon, and evening.
FILING PAPERS IN THE COURTS IN MASSACHUSETTS
Written motions (other than those that may be heard ex parte) and notice of the hearing thereof should be delivered not later than seven days before the time indicated for the hearing. Ex-parte applications for such an order may be granted for a good reason. Affidavits supporting motions must be filed with those motions, and contrary affidavits may be submitted no later than one day before the hearing unless the court orders differently. Pleadings and other documents submitted with the court must be filed with the court clerk unless a judge permits the papers to be filed with him, in which case the judge shall record the filing date and promptly transfer the papers to the office of the clerk. If a party fails to file any paper required to be filed within five days after service, the court may order the paper to be filed immediately; if the order is disobeyed, the court may order the paper to be regarded as stricken and its service to be of no effect.
At Undisputed Legal, we sometimes file legal documents with the court on behalf of our clients, ensuring that all deadlines and requirements are met. This can be especially helpful if the client is in a different city or state and cannot physically file the documents themselves. Undisputed Legal can also help clients understand the legal requirements for filing documents and ensure all necessary forms and documents are submitted.
RETURN OF SERVICE IN MASSACHUSETTS.
The person serving process must provide written evidence of service to the court as soon as possible, and in any case, within the time limit set for the person being served to reply. Any individual who serves a process that is not a sheriff, deputy sheriff, or special sheriff must swear that they did so.
Evidence of service outside the Commonwealth may be made by affidavit of the person doing the service or in any other way required for proof of service in action in any of its courts of general jurisdiction under the law of the Commonwealth or the law of the place where the service is made. A signed receipt from the addressee or other evidence of personal delivery to the addressee that the court deems sufficient must be required as proof of service when service is conducted by mail. The service is still valid even if proof of service is not provided.
Original summons with Evidence of Service must be filed with the court. When they return the summons, they should explain their efforts to locate the defendant in a Proof of Service. An ‘Order for Alternative Service by Publication and Mailing’ may be requested from the court. With this warrant, you may serve the defendant by posting the summons in a newspaper and sending it to the defendant’s last known address.
OUT-OF-STATE PROCESS SERVICE IN MASSACHUSETTS
To serve a defendant who does not reside in Massachusetts, it is necessary to use the same procedures as the defendant. Identifying a law enforcement official who works where the defendant is being held is necessary. It is necessary to include the process service documents such as the complaint, summons, Track Assignment Notification, and Affidavit Disclosing Care or Custody Proceedings, if applicable.
The ‘Proof of Service’ part of the summons should be filled out. By signing and returning the Proof of Service attached to the back of the summons, the process server attests to the court that he or she delivered the documents to the defendant ‘by hand’ or that they or mailed the summons to the defendant and left it at the defendant’s last known address.
When the process server returns the Proof of Service, it is necessary to make a duplicate for the records and submit the original to the court as soon as possible. A ‘return of service’ occurs when the original summons and the Proof of Service are returned to the issuing court. It is important to determine whether the sheriff will submit the return of service with the court or if they must do so.
We’ll make sure that you always keep in mind where your documents are. Consequently, we are constantly updating our clients as to the status of their documents. We send GPS affidavits to our clients so they can know exactly where your documents are and even provide ‘real-time’ personalized email updates. If you have opted to mail your documents, we ensure we send you an affidavit by email before sending the hard copy. New customers even get a free basic skip trace!
Documents can be faxed at (800) 296-0115, emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org, or uploaded on our website. We do require prepayment and accept all major credit and debit cards. Once payment is processed, your sales receipt is immediately emailed for your records.
Drop-offs must call and make an appointment first to be added to building security to permit access to our office. Documents for service must be in a sealed envelope with payment in the form of a money order or attorney check (WE DO NOT ACCEPT CASH) payable to UNDISPUTED LEGAL INC.; Our receptionist will receive all documents. Click Here for Frequently Asked Questions About Process Servers!
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New York: (212) 203-8001 – 590 Madison Avenue, 21st Floor, New York, New York 10022
Brooklyn: (347) 983-5436 – 300 Cadman Plaza West, 12th Floor, Brooklyn, New York 11201
Queens: (646) 357-3005 – 118-35 Queens Blvd, Suite 400, Forest Hills, New York 11375
Long Island: (516) 208-4577 – 626 RXR Plaza, 6th Floor, Uniondale, New York 11556
Westchester: (914) 414-0877 – 50 Main Street, 10th Floor, White Plains, New York 10606
Connecticut: (203) 489-2940 – 500 West Putnam Avenue, Suite 400, Greenwich, Connecticut 06830
New Jersey: (201) 630-0114 – 101 Hudson Street, 21 Floor, Jersey City, New Jersey 07302
Washington DC: (202) 655-4450 – 1101 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W. Suite 300, Washington DC 20004
FOR ASSISTANCE SERVING LEGAL PAPERS IN MASSACHUSETTS
Pick up the phone and call Toll Free (800) 774-6922, or click the service you want to purchase. Our dedicated team of professionals is ready to assist you. We can handle all your Massachusetts process service needs; no job is too small or too large! For a complete list of our Massachusetts Process Service Coverage Areas, Click Here!
Please feel free to contact us for more information about our process-serving agency. We are ready to provide service of process to all our clients globally from our offices in New York, Brooklyn, Queens, Long Island, Westchester, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Washington, D.C.
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1. Find out whether the sheriff or constable will submit the initial summons on your behalf or if you must do it.
2. Affidavit of the person who delivered the papers to the defendant; same proof of service as described above for successful service in this state; or proof of service set out by a court of general jurisdiction for successful service in that state may all be used as the proof of service to be filed with the court where the case is filed.
If mailing the documents, a signed receipt or other evidence of successful personal delivery to the defendant is required as proof of service.
3. Notices of taking depositions, transcripts of depositions, interrogatories under Rule 33, answers and objections to interrogatories under Rule 33, requests under Rule 34, and responses to requests under Rule 34 shall not be presented or accepted for filing unless the court, generally or in a specific case, on motion ex parte by any party or concerned citizen, or on its motion shall otherwise order. All evidence obtained during a deposition or discovery must be kept safe and turned over to the court upon request.
4. If a party’s right or duty requires him to act or commence actions within a certain time frame and that notice or document is served upon him by mail, then the time frame must be extended by three days.
5. Service and filing of all court documents related to an ongoing action are governed by Rule 5 (1973). In essence, it mandates that all parties impacted by a document be given adequate notice at each subsequent stage of the action after the first service of the process. A copy of the response, as well as any motion or other paper needed to be served, must be sent to the opposing party or his counsel; the reference to ‘similar paper’ in Rule 5(a) suggests that the list of additional papers is not to be construed as exhaustive.
6. This change was made because filing discovery papers takes up significant clerical time, and some courthouses don’t have enough storage space. The ‘SUBJECT: PAPERS IN CIVIL ACTIONS WHICH WILL NOT BE ACCEPTED FOR FILING’ section of Standing Order No. 3-87 of the Superior Court Department (Applicable to the Middlesex Division) served as the inspiration for this revision. A comparable local regulation called ‘Nonfiling of Discovery Documents’ is in effect in the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts. Standard Operating Procedure 16 (g).
7. An ‘Order for Alternative Service by Publication and Mailing’ may be requested from the court. This ruling authorizes service through newspaper publication and mailing to the defendant’s last known address.