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ItalianPrincess1217's avatar

What happens if a person can't be found to be served?

Asked by ItalianPrincess1217 (10534points) November 13th, 2011 from iPhone

If a person is being sued they have to be served papers. Then they appear in court on the day the papers say. But what if that person can’t be served papers because they can’t be found? If an attempt is made to show up at their house, work, etc and they don’t live/work at those places any longer, what happens? Let’s say they try to send the papers via certified mail but that person never signs for the mail and it’s returned to the sender. How would the person ever know they’re being sued and when the court date is? If they were to not show up in court, would there be a warrant for their arrest? Or would there just be a default judgement entered against them?

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13 Answers

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

They can advertise in the legal section of the newspapers or post the notice in a public place, i.e Sheriff’s Office.. If you don’t respond they get a default judgement.

Judi's avatar

It depends on the state and the kind of suit. In California, for an eviction, you can post it on their door and mail it.

ItalianPrincess1217's avatar

@Judi In NY. For an unpaid debt lawsuit.

john65pennington's avatar

If a person is deliberalty dodging the notice papers, a lien can be filed on whatever you own and even somethings that have a lien on it.

You may not know this, until you attempt to sell whatever has a lien on it

Brian1946's avatar

What’s the unpaid debt?

ItalianPrincess1217's avatar

@john65pennington Assume they’re not diberately dodging the papers and they have nothing that they own or anything worth value.

@Brian1946 An overdrawn bank account that went into collections.

bkcunningham's avatar

It would depend on who wasn’t paid when you had insufficient funds and how much you owe them @ItalianPrincess1217.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

Will you EVER need to open any Bank Account?
Your SSN will be followed.
Cash check operations with a cost to cash checks will be the only place to cash any checks.

ItalianPrincess1217's avatar

@Tropical_Willie That’s already the case.

Brian1946's avatar

If the debt is legit, then it’s your responsibility to contact the bank or the collections agency to settle it, regardless of whether they find you.

“If they were to not show up in court, would there be a warrant for their arrest? Or would there just be a default judgement entered against them?”

No warrant, just the judgment, which might be followed by income garnishment, unless you arrange some other means of payment before they file for it.

tinyfaery's avatar

In lieu of POS or publication a default judgement can be ordered. It’s the same as being guilty. Default judgements can be fought, but it’s not so easy.

nikipedia's avatar

Can you just pay the debt?

ItalianPrincess1217's avatar

@nikipedia This is mostly hypothetical. I’m unsure exactly what the debt is or whether that’s why cops were looking for me at my old apartment. I’m still trying to figure all the details out. I am assuming it’s an unpaid debt due to the fact that I haven’t done anything wrong (criminally speaking) and can think of no other reason they would be looking for me. I’m guessing it’s to serve me papers. They left no number so it’s hard to say for sure who or why. So, can the debt be paid? Maybe. Maybe not. I’m not even sure on who the debt is with. And if they have already set a court date, it’s probably past the point of negotiating a payment plan. Also, I’m filing for bankruptcy in a couple of months.

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