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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2019
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    Echo Park, CA
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    Red face How to Know if You're About to Be Served Papers

    My question involves court procedures for the state of: CA

    A strange man in casual clothes has been ringing my bell a few times a week with a clipboard and a pen in his hand (rare in my area). I would answer and simply ask him what he wants, but I'm never home at the time. Wondering if he is potentially there to serve papers, curious to know the answer to a general question:

    Is there a way I can check with the Los Angeles court if a complaint was filed against me, and if so would it show up immediately after being filed, or takes time to show up in the records? From what I hear, when somebody gets served there should be something filed on them first in the nearest court, so I'd like to get a heads up if possible.

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2018
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    Default Re: How to Know if About to Be Served Papers

    Quote Quoting aj_waterman
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    A strange man in casual clothes has been ringing my bell a few times a week with a clipboard and a pen in his hand (rare in my area). I would answer and simply ask him what he wants, but I'm never home at the time.
    First of all, when you describe this person as a "strange man," do you mean anything other than that he's unknown to you (i.e., that he's a stranger)? Second, I assume you know the details because you have a doorbell camera. I'll also assume you don't have one that allows you to communicate with the person at the door.


    Quote Quoting aj_waterman
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    Wondering if he is potentially there to serve papers
    Do you have reason to believe that someone might have sued you? If not, this seems to be a strange wondering.


    Quote Quoting aj_waterman
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    Is there a way I can check with the Los Angeles court if a complaint was filed against me, and if so would it show up immediately after being filed, or takes time to show up in the records?
    Everything "takes time" to happen, the issue is how much time. It typically takes anywhere from a few days to a couple weeks for a case to show up on the Los Angeles County Superior Court's online records. However, it will cost money to run a name search (searching by case number is free).


    Quote Quoting aj_waterman
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    From what I hear, when somebody gets served there should be something filed on them first in the nearest court
    I'm not sure what "filed on them" means, but yes, a complaint must be filed and a summons issued before valid service can be accomplished.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
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    Default Re: How to Know if About to Be Served Papers

    You could check with the LA courts but it's possible he could be trying to serve you for an court action outside LA county.

    It's also possible he's just coming by to sell you magazine subscriptions or speak to you about his deity of choice.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2019
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    Echo Park, CA
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    Default Re: How to Know if About to Be Served Papers

    By strange I meant a stranger, one whom I or my two adjacent neighbors have never seen in the area before (and we don't typically get solicitors around here). And correct, I've seen everything via my frontdoor camera (non-interactive, though).

    My suspicion of being sued is not entirely driven by paranoia--I do have a specific hateful neighbor that's been provoked recently over a property line dispute and has threatened to take legal action.

    Yes, I meant a complaint or some sort of legal document (I say "some legal document" as I don't know what I don't know).

    So I ran a paid online search on the LA Superior website and no result came up with my name. Now if I'm understanding correctly, it's still possible that I am currently being sued but perhaps it isn't reflected in the system yet. I guess I'll just check again in a couple weeks and if nothing comes up and I don't see the stranger around anymore, assume I'm in the clear.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2015
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    Default Re: How to Know if About to Be Served Papers

    Or...you could just answer the door. That's a very effective way to find out what this mysterious stranger wants.
    "Where do those stairs go?"
    "They go up!"

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
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    California
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    20,269

    Default Re: How to Know if About to Be Served Papers

    If he IS a process server, dodging him is only avoiding the inevitable since there are alternative ways to accomplish service to those who choose not to answer a door.
    **********
    Retired Cal Cop Sergeant & Teacher

    Seek justice,
    Love mercy,
    Walk humbly with your God

    -- Courageous, by Casting Crowns ... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pkM-gDcmJeM

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2018
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    Default Re: How to Know if About to Be Served Papers

    Quote Quoting aj_waterman
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    So I ran a paid online search on the LA Superior website and no result came up with my name. Now if I'm understanding correctly, it's still possible that I am currently being sued but perhaps it isn't reflected in the system yet.
    If you found nothing, there are three possibilities:

    1. You aren't being sued.
    2. You're being sued but it's too soon for the case to be on court's website.
    3. You're being sued but the case isn't filed in Los Angeles County (which is highly unlikely if you're being sued by a neighbor and both of you live in that county).

    P.S. Process servers will typically make multiple attempts at service but at different times of the day.

    Quote Quoting Mark47n
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    Or...you could just answer the door. That's a very effective way to find out what this mysterious stranger wants.
    True, but it's tough to do and would be a very bad idea when one isn't at home at the time (which is how I interpreted the original post, but which isn't the only reasonable interpretation).

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2019
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    Echo Park, CA
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    Post Re: How to Know if About to Be Served Papers

    Quote Quoting Mark47n
    View Post
    Or...you could just answer the door. That's a very effective way to find out what this mysterious stranger wants.
    Of course, but problem is I'm rarely home during those hours.

    Thanks for the insight all.

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