Area of Law:
In Oregon, if you file a complaint, you must provide the defendant with a copy of all documents included in the filing. Courts refer to this as service of process, and it is an important part of your civil lawsuit. For example, service of process ensures that the defendant receives actual notice of the pending action, and that the defendant is afforded with an opportunity to respond and defend against the lawsuit. Usually, the plaintiff will provide the court with several copies of the documents at the time of filing, so that the plaintiff can provide the defendant with an original stamped copy for the defendant’s records. If you fail to serve the defendant with a copy of all filed documents, the court may dismiss your lawsuit. Therefore, it is essential that you follow the correct procedure when completing service in Oregon.
Any individual over the age of 18 and not a party to the action can be a process server in the state of Oregon. More specifically, a process server’s role is to deliver the filed court documents to the defendant. There are several methods of serving the defendant in a lawsuit. For example, the process server can personally serve the defendant, meaning the process server physically hands the defendant a copy of the documents. Personal delivery is the preferred method of service in Oregon because it is the most reliable. However, depending on a variety of circumstances, personal service may be impossible.
If personal service is not possible, Oregon recognizes substituted service as a valid method of providing notice to the defendant. Substituted service allows the process server to leave the documents with a person over the age of 14 who lives at the same residence as the defendant. In addition, the process server must also mail a copy of the documents to the home as soon as possible. Service may also be possible at the defendant’s business or place of employment.
After the process server completes service, the process server will fill out an Affidavit of Service. The Affidavit of Service describes the date, place, time and method the process server used to accomplish service. Customarily, the Affidavit of Service is filed with the court prior to your first appearance. The Affidavit of Service provides the court with evidence of the defendant’s knowledge of the lawsuit. Therefore, if the defendant does not appear in court, the defendant will be unable to successfully argue later that the defendant did not have notice of the lawsuit. In addition the Affidavit of Service provides support to a plaintiff’s request that the court enter a default judgment against the defendant in the case. An example of an Affidavit of Service is available online at http://courts.oregon.gov/Marion/docs/MaterialsAndResources/AffidavitOfSe....
Service of process is an important part of a lawsuit, and can affect the outcome of your case. Therefore, If you have any additional questions or concerns regarding how to complete service in Oregon, visit the Oregon Courts Self Help website http://courts.oregon.gov/OJD/selfhelp/index.page.