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On December 1st 2014 there was an article published in “JDSUPRA Business Advisor” that discussed the findings in the following court case, Link. In this article, author Brian Willis of Shumaker, Loop & Kendrick, LLP, summarizes the findings of this court case. The important points to note are that the attorney in this case was very thorough and still lost his clients case due to him failing to meet the qualification of Due Diligence prior to publication to find the defendant and personally serve them. This qualification seems to be a moving target and it does not seem to be getting any easier to hit.
What the attorney in this case did prior to publication is as follows from his Affidavit;
a) I sent a Demand letter to the last known address of 2119
The Oaks Boulevard, Kissimmee, FL 34746. No response
was received from the defendant.
b) I hired a process server at Magic Process to serve summons
on Defendants, Sergio Martins and Unknown Spouse of
Sergio Martins. Process Server stated that the property was
unoccupied at the time of service.
c) I have searched for the Defendant with the Osceola County
Property Appraisers office to determine if there are other
properties the Defendant may own and or reside in. I have
found no other property owned by Sergio Martins and
Unknown Spouse of Sergio Martins
d) I have searched for the Defendant by name and by address
in a popular background database search service known as
Accurint.com. We have not found another address aside
from the aforementioned addresses at which the Process
Server attempted service on the Defendants.
e) I have searched for the Defendants by name using World
Wide Web based telephone listings. I have found no listing.
f) I have sent the U.S. Post Office a change of address/physical
address request and they reported that they had no
forwarding information for Defendant.
g) I have searched the Florida Department of Corrections on
them to see if they had been incarcerated.
The results in this case were not in the Plaintiff’s favor. The Court granted the Motion to Vacate finding that the HOA should have requested the Defendant’s records from the Florida DMV and should have attempted service at all addresses in their records.
We at Hawkeye State Process Serve, LLC know that what we do is a vital part of the legal process and that our clients rely on us to make sure they don’t look bad in court. Each state is different as well as each Judge and seeing the above is a reminder to us why we are so thorough in our skip tracing and serving endeavors. We never want this to happen to one of our cases, and this is why we work so hard. When we serve a defendant we do the following and note it on our affidavits so that it is part of the case;
- We attempt at all current address as well as recent previous address we find using the top skip sites on the market (we have audits and onsite inspections to qualify for these sites)
- We call all phone numbers listed on the skip report which includes cell numbers to contact the defendants and find their locations (works better than you would think!)
- We submit COA’s to the US Post Office as soon as a bad address is identified as these take time to get back.
- We google search the defendant looking for information not contained in their Skip Results such as Places of Employment
- We search social media looking for information on defendants as well.
- We contact/skip family members and current or ex spouses when we are running out of leads to find the defendants whereabouts.
- We check State and Federal inmate records to see if the defendant is incarcerated.
- We canvas the defendants neighborhood to find a neighbor who knows where they may be staying or working
- County Property records are searched
- We also are certified to request State of Iowa DMV/DOT records looking for vehicle registrations to find a new address.
Because we do all this, I am confident to say that if the defendant can be found, we will find them! If we cant we give a detailed affidavit of non service so our clients so that when they file it with the court (or we will if they desire, its a free service from us) they can get the defendant served via publication and feel confident that their case wont come to a poor end such as the one linked to above.
We do all this extra work for no extra charge. We truly are a flat rate company. We serve in all counties and cities including Iowa City, Des Moines, Cedar Rapids, Davenport, Council Bluffs, Sioux City, Waterloo, Dubuque and beyond. Please consider giving us a try in any area of Iowa for great results!