Service of Process Standards and Best Practices
The significant policies and procedures of Risk & Associates County Civil Process are published in the Risk & Associates County Civil Process Instructional and Reference Manual. The Standards and Best Practices, together with the Code of Ethics, form the basis of the policies applicable to all staff members of Risk & Associates County Civil Process.
Our office has correctly handled well over 170,000 cases, including over 4,800 evictions, successful collection on more than 4,500 seizures, and provides service in 58 counties with a combined population of nearly 4.5 million people and a geographic area of over 33,000 square miles; more than anyone else in Michigan.
Risk & Associates is proud to be fully compliant with GPS and photo service verifications. We were the first in Michigan to utilize GPS to add layers of protection and irrefutable proof for our clients. Our custom proprietary software and mobile app have GPS and photo capabilities integrated for quick and reliable use by our staff and servers.
As the need for such evidence becomes a requirement we are proud to be ahead of the curve and ready to provide these needed tools at a moment’s notice.
Best Practices for Service of Process
1. Service of process or other papers for the purpose of acquiring jurisdiction over a person, entity or property must be performed by a disinterested third party in a manner consistent with Michigan statutes, court rules, directives and generally accepted practices and procedures.
2. The preferred and most effective method of service of process upon a party is in-person delivery to the named party.
3. When in-person service upon a named party cannot be effectuated, the next best method of service is in-person delivery of process to a person authorized by court rule or statute to deliver process to on behalf of the named party. For example, this includes such person as
“member of household,” “person apparently in charge at a usual place of business,” “person of suitable age and discretion,” “parent,” “guardian,” “registered agent” and “statutory agent.”
4. When service cannot be effected as described in no. 2 or 3 above, the next best method of service is by alternate means authorized by court rule or statute upon a demonstration of the facts, and shall be done in a manner reasonably calculated to provide actual notice to the named
party. This would include service by mail, posting and/or publication.
Basic Process Server Education
The following are some of the essential topics of study and discussion in the Risk & Associates County Civil Process Instructional and Reference Manual.
- Due process
- Jurisdiction of the courts
- Jurisdiction over persons, entities and property
- Nature and purpose of civil process
- Statutes and Court Rules relative to service of process
- Proper methods of service•Personal service
- Alternate methods of service
- Time and service limitations
- Required and statutory fees
- Restrictions and prohibitions
- Proofs of Service
- Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct
Best Practice for Process Servers
Process must be concealed and secured in a container/file/folder/briefcase within your vehicle when making service attempts and removed to and secured in their residence when not actively attempting service. Passwords and user identifications relative to Risk & Associates website log-in information shall never be stored in printed or written form nor shall they be divulged to anyone for any reason. This information is retained electronically by the PSMRS software administrator only.
- Process Servers must identify the party being served either by:
- Picture identification
- Identification acknowledgment by party served
- Identification by third party
- Personally serve party by:
- Handing documents to them
- Placing and leaving documents within their physical control, and notifying them of the contents should they refuse to accept service.
- Request party to complete and sign Acknowledgement of Service in a legible manner
- Request contact phone number
- Itemize documents served including any attachments on Proof of Service
- Indicate day, date, time and location of service on Proof of Service
- Enter physical description of party served on Proof of Service
- Enter accurate computation of fees in accordance with MCL 600.2555, 2558 and 2559 on Proof of Service
Affidavit of Attempted Service and Due Diligence must include:
- Exact days, dates and time of attempts
- Attempts must include an early mroning, mid-afternoon and a late evening, one of which should be on a weekend day
- Description of results or event, such as evidence of occupancy, i.e. occupants visible and activity within address
- Any verification of residency by third parties
Proofs of Service by Alternate means must include all methods of services
performed as ordered by the court such as:
- Location and manner of postings
- Proof of all mailings
- Affidavit of Publication
- And the accurate computation of fees in accordance with MCL 600.2555, 2558 & 2559.
Best Office Practices for securing, preparing,
processing, forwarding andfiling Service of Process
Service of Process shall be kept in a secure and non-publicly accessible area at all times.
Office staff shall ensure that documents are accurate and complete relative to stated content.
Documents shall be prepared for service by correctly entering/replicating applicable case information and/or uploading case data provided electronically into the PSMRS, assigning case specific tracking numbers, and compiling into segregated Serve and Proof of Service packets.
PSMRS Field Worksheets shall contain all specific information relayed by the requesting service party that may assist in the service of the process, however; that information which may be subject to restrictions of Federal or State privacy laws or acts shall not be reproduced in printed or written form, but shall be made available to the assigned Process Server by secure network data exchange or confidential phone or direct personal contact with appropriate office staff. Social Security Numbers shall be redacted, and only the last four (4) numbers shall be displayed.
Ensure all data or services performed are logged into the PSMRS relative to service attempts.
Office staff shall employ such internet based services as: Lexis Nexis, Accurint, Locate Plus, TLO, etc. and the submitting of Postal Change of Address requests when attempting to verify recipient address or attempting to locate a new address.
These services shall also be utilized whenever necessary to provide additional verified information in the pursuit of service by alternate means. Prior authorization from the client shall be received prior to performing searches and utilizing the information received .
Ensure the timely entry of service attempts, service completions and the return of all Proofs of Service by Process Servers.
Inspect and review all Affidavit of Attempts and Due Diligence and Proofs of Service for completeness and accuracy, including notarization.
Scan and electronically file by PSMRS issued case specific tracking number all Proofs of Service and other documents. Electronic documents shall be retained for period of no less than 7 years.
File or return all Proofs of Service in a timely manner as directed by the party requesting service. The electronic filing of Proofs of Service shall be performed by the Client.
All confidential waste requiring disposal shall be cross-cut shredded and under no circumstances shall disposal occur by any other means
Best Security Practices for the Electronic Transfer and Storage of Data
Ensuring the availability of the network and its components to office staff, Process Servers, Courts and clients as well as the confidentiality and integrity of information both in transit and at rest within the storage network is vital to maintaining the privacy of the information contained.
Physical Security of Servers & Network Appliances
(including off-site data backup sites)
- Entry to the Server and Network Appliance areas shall be locked at all times. Physical access shall be prohibited to unauthorized personnel.
- Visitors and maintenance personnel shall be escorted and monitored by staff continuously while in a secure area.
- Network work station computers shall require user identification and password for log in. Staff are required to log off at all times when not in use, and shall log off and shut down at the end of their shift.
Compliance audits shall be conducted by a Risk & Associates Operations Manager no less than every 90 days. Any deficiencies shall be reported immediately to the President and followed up by written report to the President within 24 hours.