Many process servers rely on work from debt collection firms as this kind of work is often reliable and plentiful. As a result, process servers end up being in the middle of debt collection attempts when they deliver service of process, which can undoubtedly put servers in a tricky position if they are unprepared. For example, just this past summer, process servers in New Jersey found themselves in the middle of a lawsuit. Although no one is 100% immune from finding themselves the subject of a lawsuit, there is plenty that process servers can do to prepare for and combat costly litigation. Learn more by hearing from two excellent attorneys in the field, Ron Canter and David Anthony, and get tips on how you can avoid costly litigation by focusing on compliance and forging relationships.

Prevent Problems With Compliance

Maintaining compliance is of utmost importance — and even more important than merely being in compliance is documenting it. By following the FRCP, process servers are realistically doing the bare minimum. It is imperative that process servers follow the guidelines set forth in the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) and engage in lawful service of process attempts, with complete documentation. Documentation of every aspect of a serve is important, especially when it comes to disputing false claims that could put a process server in jeopardy of being subject to debt collector classification, and as a result, legal liability. Use cameras when/where you are able, include detailed descriptions with dates and times, use GPS, etc. If there is ever a type of serve that warrants going overboard on documentation, it is debt collection serves. In my experience as a Certified Receivables Compliance Professional, I can tell you that strict compliance can save process servers from a lot of pain down the road. Process servers should embrace compliance at every step.

Assessing a Litigation Threat: Be Your Own Referee

When (and, unfortunately, not if) your process serving business is the recipient of a letter threatening legal action, assessing its validity, strengths, and merits is the first step to handling the threat. Perhaps it is simply a pro se litigant copying language off of a search engine to try and avoid payment. Perhaps the attorney representing the client doesn’t actually have jurisdiction to file the claim in the state (this is more common than you might think!). Perhaps the attorney hasn’t thoroughly vetted the claim and you know the invalidity. No matter what, the claim must be acknowledged and documented.

Ideally, outside counsel will not be necessary. Attorneys Ron Canter and David Anthony acknowledged that being entangled in litigious counterclaims, despite this being part of their practice, is not fun for anyone. Ensuring compliance will largely prevent counterclaims from even originating. However, even the most compliant among us may still find ourselves the recipient of a threatening letter or potential of a case. Hearing attorneys that represent our industry state how important it is to avoid heading to court solidifies my commitment to ensuring compliance now more than ever!

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