Legal Counsel, P.A. is a business law firm in Orlando, Florida that can assist you with various aspects of business law. One of the aspects of business law handled by Legal Counsel, P.A. involves lawsuits. If a business cannot resolve its disputes or breach of contract issues through mediation or negotiation, sometimes the next step is to pursue a lawsuit. A lawsuit can be costly, because it may involve court fees, lawyers, and require that formal processes be properly followed.
If you are the person or business taking legal action or are the business or person who is facing legal action, there are processes that the person taking legal action must follow in order for the legal action to proceed. One important step in a lawsuit is known as service of process. What is this step and why is it important? Legal Counsel, P.A. is a business law firm in Orlando, Florida that is here to help.
What is service of process? Service of process is the legal process by which a person or company formally informs another person or company that legal action is being taken. Service of process involves the delivering of formal notification about a lawsuit. This formal notification is known as the complaint. In Florida, service of process should be performed by a special process server who can deliver the complaint to the person or company being notified about the lawsuit. A process server is a professional who understands the laws and the steps that must be taken to ensure that another party is properly informed that they are party to a lawsuit.
The process server, once the documents are delivered, must record when the documents were delivered and inform the court that service of process has been completed. The date on which service of process is filed is the date on which the clock for the defendant starts ticking. Once papers have been served, the defendant has a period of time to respond to the complaint, usually 20 days. A defendant who has been served a lawsuit may want to hire a lawyer to respond to the complaint. It is very important that a defendant answer the complaint within the specified time frame because failure to do so can result in a default judgement against the defendant. This means that you automatically lose the case if you don’t respond to the complaint.
However, there are situations where a default judgement might be reversed. What happens if you never received the complaint? If service of process was not handled in the proper manner—for example, if a process server wasn’t hired to deliver the papers, or if the process server delivered the paper to the wrong person, this could result in a reversal of the default judgement. For example, in Mattress One, Inc. vs. Sunshop Properties, LLC, Sunshop Properties, LLC was trying to pursue a commercial eviction against Mattress One, Inc. The process server arrived at Mattress One, Inc. to serve the complaint, but the person for whom the complaint was intended was not there. Instead, the process server gave the complaint to an unknown employee. Mattress One, Inc. failed to respond to the complaint and a default judgement was entered against the company. However, Mattress One, Inc. later appealed the default judgement on the grounds that the process server had failed to serve the papers to the appropriate person. While the law allows for a process server to deliver a complaint to a person who is “responsible” within a corporation, and in the absence of a person of highest official position being available, a person of lower official position may also be served a complaint. However, a process server cannot claim that service of process took place by serving papers to a “random employee.”
What does this case show? It shows that service of process is an important step in a business lawsuit and proper service of process is essential to ensure that the proceedings can continue properly. An error in this step can result in a reversal of a default judgement, leading to more litigation and costs for the plaintiff and the defendant.
Is your business facing a lawsuit? Are you in need of serving a complaint to another business or party? Seeking legal assistance now if you are in the middle of a business dispute can save your business time and money. Legal Counsel, P.A. is a business law firm in Orlando, Florida that can work with you to resolve your business dispute. We can also take steps to protect the interests of your business, either by responding in a timely manner to a complaint, or by ensuring that process of service is completed properly. Have questions? We have answers. Contact Legal Counsel, P.A. today at 407-982-4321.
A business dispute, breach of contract issue, eviction, or other business dispute can raise many questions for a small business owner. With the help of a business law firm, many of your questions can be answered. Reach out to Legal Counsel, P.A., a business law firm in Orlando, Florida today. Have questions? We have answers. Contact Legal Counsel, P.A. today at 407-982-4321.