Q: Can a paralegal sign a Proof of Service for someone else that served responses to the opposition and file them in court?
A Paralegal used her husband to serve legal documents to the opposing counsel days before a court appearance. Not an employee of the firm. Responses to motions were served to opposing counsel during after hours. The building was closed and according to the husband on the proof of service, he stated he left the documents outside on the floor of opposing counsels building. No one was ever personally served. The wife who is the paralegal gives the husband a blank check and he writes in his information and the amount for $250.00 for his service. The paralegal then forges her attorney's signature and the husband deposits the check. Opposing counsel indicated in court he never received the documents. Charges were then billed to the client.
A: A proof of service is signed under penalty of perjury, it must be signed by the person doing the actual service. Other than that there is no other requirement of status, like being an employee of a firm or paralegal service. If I were hearing this case I would postpone the hearing so the attorney who was not properly served has a chance to review the documents and respond. Leaving it on the doorstep of a building is not proper service. The business about the check is interesting but does not affect whether service was properly made.
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