It is hard to believe that the venerable Fax machine has been with us 1964, (Xerox (LDX) or Long-Distance Xerography). Many of us that have been in business for a few decades probably remember office discussions, at times heated discussions, on whether or not to get a FAX machine. In 1982, a fax machine cost around $ 20,000.
It was decades after the introduction of FAX technology before the Uniform Commercial Code of the United States of America officially included FAX as one of the legally recognized forms of delivery of a contract.
Lady Justice is slow to adopt new technology!
The very first email to have ever been sent was sent by Ray Tomlinson in 1971. It travelled across ARPANET, the global network that ultimately grew into the Internet we know today. It was not until 2012, that the Uniform Commercial Code made concessions for Email as a valid delivery mechanism for contracts.
On April 12, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit held that a series of emails taken as a whole provided sufficient evidence that the parties intended to form a contract. Republic Bank, Inc. v. West Penn Allegheny Health Sys., Inc., No 10-4145, 2012 WL 1223933 (10th Cir. Apr. 12, 2012).
Yes, Lady Justice is certainly slow to adopt new technology.
Delivery of Process by an authorized process server may be one of the few remaining physical “person to person” “Hand delivered” means of confirming the receipt of a document.
There are provisions that if the person receiving the subpoena is unreachable. After demonstrated due diligence, if the receiver of the service of process cannot be reached, then process service can be made by way of publication. “Publication” means posting a notice in the local newspaper. The newspaper itself is becoming more archaic every day.
So, why is Delivery of Process still predominantly a person-to-person exchange? Certainly, among the reasons is simply “Lady Justice” and her resistance to technology. This is also though a discussion about the true importance of Process Service. Serving someone with legal papers that may result in action taken in court against that person, should be an order of magnitude more important than the simple delivery of a contract, in our opinion. Knowing that a live human physically delivered process to its intended recipient creates a quash proof service of process.
Both Germany and England have begun to adopt email in their process service, especially with service to a company.
We will watch with interest how evolving Service of Process requirements impact our clients. Within the scope of current Florida law around service of process, Email is still not considered effective service of process.
That does not mean that the Process Service industry is Archaic.
Our Process Service firm understands that using technology to get information from the process server on the ground, to the law office that requested the Service, to the Courts that require the service, can be greatly speed up the transfer of Service Status.
We certainly still serve people one on one, purely by hand, for those that prefer it. However our technology platform also allows a quick and easy “drag and drop” from paralegal or attorney to send a process request from their desktop directly to our process service software. Our in-field servers are able to digitally confirm with us that the process service was executed, and our systems can then automatically file with the appropriate court, and update the lawyers Case Management system.
It might seem that the Process Service industry has become archaic, with digital technologies outpacing the ability for the law to adapt.
The truth of the matter is, however, that some things are of enough import, that they should be handled in a face to face service. Technology has its place, and we’ve embraced that place. Where technology plays the largest role in Process Service, is in getting information to the courts, requesting the service, and keeping our clients up to date with the status of the service.
360 Legal, Inc.
T: +1 (888) 360-legl (5345)