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What You Need to Know About Serving a Business

You may have heard often enough that companies or corporations could be considered individuals for the purpose of many types of law, but that doesn’t mean that the same rules apply in serving legal papers. In fact, there are a lot of things you need to know before filing a civil matter against a business.

What is the structure of the business? Who is legally responsible for it?

What type of business are you filing against? It can make a big difference in how service of process needs to be handled. Rules for serving a sole proprietor or self-employed freelancer can be different than the rules for serving a corporation. Make sure you know how the business is structured, their licensure status, and the owners or officers.

Who can accept the legal papers?

This largely depends on what type of business you are serving. For small businesses, you will likely be serving the owner, partner, or upper-level officer (President or Vice President). If you are serving a corporation, you may need to serve that company’s registered agent.

If the company has a registered agent, that person must be served at their place of business during normal business hours. If that person is in a location out of state, you may have to work with other states’ laws about service of process.

What about closed locations?

If the business you need to serve has closed its physical doors due to the pandemic, you may need to serve the officer, owner, or agent at home. But in order to do this, you may need to get permission from the courts. A private process server is best able to apply the most up-to-date rules to service of process.

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