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Jeff Folkersen: Hi, everyone. Thank you for joining us for another episode of Small Business Briefing. Today, we’ve got the pleasure of working with Joe Osborne. Joe is the vice president of operations for 360 Legal, a processing firm headquartered in Sarasota, but they take care of the entire state. Joe, our question for you today, and thank you so much for being here, is what do you do when someone attempts to evade service?

Joe Osborn: So what happens if a defendant evades service? It really depends on the type of litigation, because there are different types of remedies that plaintiffs have depending on the type of case it is.

For example, on a collection case where someone is a consumer debt, they owe money to an old credit card holder or on a car or something to that effect, those people have to actually be served with the documents here in Florida, or there’s really no case, because one of the primary reasons to serve a defendant, our obligation to get them served, is to provide them due process according to the constitution. So you don’t want the court to be able to enter decisions against them, and judgments, and things like that without them knowing about it.

So it’s really to protect them. So once they’re served, they have the opportunity to defend themselves against the lawsuit. So certain types of cases you have to have personal service. Foreclosures, right now, and collections are one of the only two really where you don’t have to actually be served because there are other remedies. So if someone wants to avoid service on a foreclosure case, we don’t care, because the attorney will just proceed by publication in a newspaper, publish it a certain number of times. And then they can proceed and get their judgment, and then move on and take the home away from the person.

Evictions are just, you make two attempts over a six-hour period, and you can post it on the front door, and then the landlord can go in and get a judgment against you. But in most other types of cases that are out there, you have to actually serve the person. But my opinion is I would never avoid service in a lawsuit because it’s my time to defend myself. If you don’t get served, you can’t answer the lawsuit, and you can’t defend yourself. Don’t ever avoid service.

Jeff Folkersen: Thanks Joe! Once again, why would you evade service when it is your chance to have your place in court? I do appreciate it, and very interesting to hear that we don’t need to physically serve them. They can be served in a newspaper. So for those of you, unfortunately, facing foreclosure, or for those of you who are attempting to foreclose on someone, let’s be really careful when it comes to service of process, make sure that everything runs right. And thank you very much to our friends at 360 Legal.

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