As of shortly after 11:00 AM today, by lack of inclusion, the duties of Process Servers were classified as “non-essential”. Professionally; I don’t believe this should be the case no more than those that work for FedEx, UPS, USPS or anyone else that is expected to make deliveries, particularly considering the fact that we have legal obligations tied directly to due process, due diligence, effort and inquiry. Process Server duties are absolutely essential, and they absolutely must travel to perform those duties.
Although I certainly understand the Governor’s and other individual’s fears of exposure and/or contamination; we at Risk & Associates have taken every precaution that those in a medical clinics, doctors offices or hospital have; and so have our Process Servers. Universal precautions and the additional protocols specified in the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services directive dated March 11, 2020 are practiced and strictly adhered to.
That being said; I had originally left it up to the discretion of each staff member and the individual Process Server to make their own decision whether or not they wished to self quarantine or reduce their work schedules or travel routines. Up until today, (and not surprisingly) all of our office staff were choosing to continue working full-time and all of our Process Services were still out there serving every day….. and wanted to continue. Everyone has financial obligations, and many have children at home they are responsible for and knew the consequences of not working. That’s why they had already incorporated those safeguards into their work routine.
Further; although most Courts were restricting access and some were even claiming to be closed; they still had staff reporting for work. Some on a rotational workday basis or reduced work schedule, but all of them continue to receive mail and other deliveries. With the exception of those Courts that require in-person filing only; I continue to encourage our clients (and for them to encourage their clients) to continue filing their claims as much as possible. Should they choose not to; then it’s only logical that everyone will begin mass filing when the pandemic slows down or ends, and all us involved in the process (law firms; court clerks, office staff, process servers, etc.) will become so inundated by the extreme bottleneck of work-flow, that none of us will be able to get much accomplished. If we allow that to occur; frustration with each other’s inability to process their work in a timely manner will undoubtedly cause some good business and working relationships to go bad….
Our position was to try and proceed as much as possible with service in each and every case. If we didn’t; then we were not performing our due diligence, and not fulfilling the obligation we had to the Courts, our clients and even to the parties being served.
As part of our Catastrophic Emergency Plan, we have several staff members working from home remotely to assist our Clients, Courts, Sherriff’s Offices and Municipalities with their on-going need of information and Case Management communications. We continue to receive cases and Data Entry is fully operational, ensuring an immediate assignment of cases to our Process Servers as soon as the Pandemic is over; or Governor Whitmer’s Executive Order 2020-21 is rescinded
As the pandemic progresses; anything we can do to work with you to make sure your workload runs smoothly; do not hesitate to let us know. We are going to continue doing our very best each and every day, on each and every case.
Rick E. Risk