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Summons

Written notice to appear in court either as a defendant or a witness.

Question: Can anyone at a residence sign a subpoena for someone else living there? I was out of town and the landlord I rent from signed a subpoena for ME. Is this legal?

Answer: For starters, nobody needs to actually sign the subpoena. It can be considered served without any signature. The primary and preferred method of serving a subpoena is to deliver it in person to the party named on the document. It can be delivered anywhere, no signature is required, and as long as it is placed in plain view of the person named it can be considered served. For example, if i approach you with the subpeona but you don't want to take it, I can drop it at your feet and it is still considered served. Once I serve the subpoena, I file a proof of service to the court. If you can not be located, there are a couple methods of alternate service: 1) The subpoena may be left with an adult who resides at your residence, or an adult who serves as your representative or assistant at your place of employment. 2) The subpoena may be posted on the door of your place of residence. If either of these methods are used, they must also mail a certified mailing containing a copy to your residence. Alternate service must be indicated on the proof of service, and you are allowed extra time to respond to the complaint or subpoena. Technically, delivering the subpoena to your landlord does not qualify as proper service of the summons. He is not your agent and he does not reside at your residence. If you wanted, you could go to court and file a motion to quash service of summons on the grounds of improper service, but this would just be a delaying tactic. At best, the judge would order them to properly serve you on the spot and order you all back on a new court date. The judge may even reject the motion since your presence at court and the fact that you have read the complaint shows that you were served even if it was improper service. Basically, they didn't really follow the rules, but you don't win the case, get it thrown out, or get any credit for that. You were served. Your energy is better spent now on focusing on valid arguments for court.

 


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