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Creating Bulletproof Affidavits

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As a professional process server, your affidavit is your ultimate work product. Your customers rely on you to produce legible, professional affidavits that will be accepted by the court. In this slideshow Torri Schaffer discusses the basics of a properly filling out and creating affidavits.

Published in: Law
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Creating Bulletproof Affidavits

  1. 1. By Torri Schaffer President of Torri’s Legal Services June 2017 1
  2. 2.  President of Torri’s Legal Services  Has been in the process serving business for over 20 years  Founding Member of Mid Atlantic Association of Professional Process Servers (MAAPPS), Former President and current Director  Former Board member of the National Association of Professional Process Servers (NAPPS)  “We are the arm of the Attorney. Our work is the reflection of the attorneys that sent you the job. Affidavits of Service are the product of our work as process servers. It’s our job to provide our clients with professional affidavits” Torri Schaffer 2
  3. 3.  Affidavit is defined as a written statement of facts, sworn to and signed by the affiant. Some states require a notary.  A good way to think of an affidavit is a document of facts where you swear that the facts are true and correct.  If you’re signing an affidavit, make sure you read what you’re signing to in its entirety. If you can agree to all of the statements in the document, sign it.  If the state where the documents originated, requires a notary seal, the documents must be signed in front of a notary. 3
  4. 4.  When a case is initiated, you cannot go forward until the defendant is served with the legal documents.  “Service of Process” makes sure that the legal documents have been delivered to the person required to respond to them.  To utilize the service of process, the documents should be given to the process server by the plaintiff, defendant, attorney or process serving company.  There are several ways to serve process. You must follow the instructions provided by the plaintiff or the attorney.  For example, in case of personal service, the process server must physically give the copy of the documents to the person being served. 4
  5. 5.  An Affidavit in process serving, also known as Affidavit of Service or Proof of Service, is a document provided by the process server, that states the pertinent facts of the service.  It’s an official document to confirm the service has been effected. In most cases it gets filed with the court.  In the case of a non-service, an Affidavit of Due Diligence is provided.  There should be an affidavit created for every party served. 5
  6. 6.  There are State and Federal Affidavits of Service for the documents issued by state or federal courts respectively.  State Affidavits:  Individual/Personal  Substitute/Personal  Corporate/Partnership service  Substitute Business  Due diligence (Affidavit of attempts)  Posting  Federal Affidavits will be discussed a bit later in this presentation. 6
  7. 7.  Case caption  Affiant statement  Service statement  Signature block  Notary block 7
  8. 8.  Case caption should include  Plaintiff  Defendant 8  Court Name  Court case number  Affidavit Name
  9. 9.  It can also look like this: 9
  10. 10.  In the Affiant Statement you state who you are and how you relate to the case parties. In the case of Affidavit of Service this part can look like this:  Or like this: 10
  11. 11.  Service Statement should contain: Date and Time of service, Name of the person served, Type of Documents served, Type of Service, Address of Service, Description of the Person Served.  In case of personal service it can look like this: 11 If the list of documents served do not fit in the designated space on the affidavit – you should type them on an additional sheet, title it “List of documents served”, and attach to the affidavit.
  12. 12.  Or, in case of Corporate service, it can look like this: 12
  13. 13.  They can look like this:  Note: Not all states require Affidavits to be notarized. For example, Maryland and Virginia do not require notary, but the District of Columbia does. 13
  14. 14.  In substitute service, in most states the person you are sub-serving must be a co-resident of the person being served.  Substitute to a Person, also called Substitute Service at a Residence Affidavit should include the relationship to the party being served (husband, wife, mother, co-resident…) 14
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  16. 16.  When the numerous attempts of service have been made and the service was unsuccessful, the Affidavit of Due Diligence is provided. It’s also called the Affidavit of Attempted Service. 16
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  18. 18. 18  Follow the rules of civil procedure in your state.  In Maryland, you must have a court order form from the judge to post legal documents.  Once process is posted on the main entrance door, take a picture and attach it to the affidavit.
  19. 19.  Upon completion of the service, the Process Server is responsible for preparing their own Affidavit of Service. If you are a contractor at a process serving company, the company will do it for you. Affidavit of Service can be prepared in one of the following ways:  Use professional Process Serving software. It has built in templates for different types of services. If you fill out all the information correctly in the job, the Affidavit of Service will be generated automatically upon your request.  Download NAPPS Affidavit of Process Server from napps.org (you need to be a member to do so), fill it out and print.  Type in a form of a Word document  If you have no access to any of the above, hand print legibly in blue ink.  Remember about quality as we are the arm of the attorney! 19
  20. 20.  Federal Affidavits:  AO 440 - Summons in Civil Action  AO 88 – Subpoena to Appear and Testify at a hearing or Trial in a Civil Action  AO 88A – Subpoena to Testify at a Deposition in a Civil Action  AO 88B – Subpoena to Produce Documents, Information, or Objects or to Permit Inspection of Premises in a Civil Action  All Federal Affidavits forms can be found online and downloaded on your computer. Make sure you have the forms with the latest revision date. 20
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