Lomita, CA asked in Collections and Small Claims for California

Q: Did I get served legally

I just recently picked up mail from my boyfriends grandma from time to time I still get mail there since I used to live there. I honestly don’t go there after usually just Christmas and thanksgiving and a random couple times a year. Well I haven’t been there since Christmas 2021. Apparently sometime in February 2022 I got served at her address it’s now March 2022 and I’m just finding out I got served. Is it legal I got served this way? His grandma and cousins said they told the person every time that I didn’t live there and after the third time the person came they just dropped of the papers. I’m really nervous Are all my accounts going to be frozen because I didn’t respond in time? I don’t even have a way to get to the court house to reply to it until another week or so. This is in California so I know laws vary by state but was this legal ?

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1 Lawyer Answer
Gregory Mark Fitzgerald
Gregory Mark Fitzgerald
  • Collections Lawyer
  • Santa Ana, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: What is called "Substitute Service" in CA is legal. Basically it says that if a process server goes to your home or your work in an effort to serve you personally but is not successful, after at least 2 attempts, they can give it to a "substitute" (person must be at least 18 years old) and then also mail you a copy to the same address. It seems they do have a problem however because the address where you were "sub served" was not your residence at the time of the "sub serve". That would mean that the service is defective. You must however tell the court as the court does not know you were served incorrectly until you tell the court. That requires a Motion to Vacate the judgment entered against you. You must act right away because if you dont, the court will not grant your motion (you can't wait months and years). If you do nothing the judgment will stand and they will start to enforce the judgment by wage garnishment, bank levies, and other ways. You should get an experienced lawyer. Motions to Vacate are not easily granted by the courts.

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