So, what does a process agent do, and when is such an entity required? Well, let’s say you or your company is conducting business in another state, or even in another nation, for an extended period of time. While this is going on, something occurs where a liability claim can be made against you or your business, but there is no actual physical presence representing your company in that jurisdiction, or, if you personally are the one being sued, you do not reside there. This can cause confusion, since such matters should be filed in the area in which the incident in question actually occurred, and, technically, these courts would not have official personal jurisdiction over you or your business.
To prevent such legal atrocities from happening, the system insists that companies that conduct a substantial portion of their business in other states or nations have a legal presence in such areas that are out of their domicile. It is almost like having an additional agent for service in each state where such companies conduct for-profit activities. For example, if a corporation breaks a contract with another business, defaults on a loan, or is negligent to the point that personal injury has taken place, they can be sued. Papers will be presented to its agent for service registered with the state. If these situations were to occur in another state where the company has established ties, its process agent in that state would be served. State-specific process agents are required for each state that companies establish a commercial presence in.
This is especially true when it comes to motor carriers, freight forwarders, and brokers. Since such companies operate by traversing several state lines daily, it is imperative that they appoint a process agent for their companies that represents their interests in every state in which they are authorized to operate and in every state in which they transport both freight and passengers. As a matter of fact, it is more than a mere suggestion. There has been a law passed by Congress that has established what is known as the Unified Registration System, or URS, which has designated that maintaining a process agent in each state a freight forwarder or motor carrier travels through is now mandatory. In the past, this only applied to “for-hire” carriers.
These days, brokers are also required to appoint process agents for each state in which they maintain offices and in each state where they draft contracts. They must write down the list of process agents that they work with and file it with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, or FMCSA, the federal agency in charge of such matters. The correct form for submitting such information is called Form BOC-3 (Designation of Process Agents), and it can be found on the FMCSA’s website. One copy should be filed with the agency and a copy should be kept at the broker’s principal place of business.
If it is more convenient, you may even choose a company with blanket protection. Such agencies can represent your company’s interests in all fifty states. There is a list of all blanket agencies on the FMSCA website.
Do you need a process agent to represent your interests in Louisiana? At Lafayette Process Servers, we can ensure that you will receive any notices or legal paperwork pertinent to your business’s operations in the Sportsman’s Paradise. Give us a call or drop us an email and we will set up an appointment to discuss your needs and the needs of your company.
This content is to be used for information only, we are not attorneys