Los Angeles, CA asked in Consumer Law, Contracts, Personal Injury, Civil Rights and Landlord - Tenant for California

Q: I've filed a civil lawsuit (not small claims) against my landlords and building managers, who are both listed as an LLC

What forms or actions do I need to follow to ensure I've got the defendants listed correctly and get their representatives served? I had already served the court paperwork to the attention of the LLC at the addresses I had from our lease paperwork.

1 Lawyer Answer
James L. Arrasmith
James L. Arrasmith pro label Lawyers, want to be a Justia Connect Pro too? Learn more ›
  • Landlord Tenant Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: In California, when filing a civil lawsuit against an LLC, you need to ensure that you have properly identified the defendant(s) and served them correctly. Here are the steps you should follow:

1. Identify the LLC's agent for service of process: You can search for the LLC's registered agent on the California Secretary of State's website (https://businesssearch.sos.ca.gov/). The agent for service of process is the individual or company designated to receive legal documents on behalf of the LLC.

2. Name the LLC as the defendant: In your complaint, list the LLC's full legal name as the defendant, which should include "LLC" or "Limited Liability Company."

3. Serve the LLC: There are two ways to serve an LLC in California:

a. Personal service: You can have a registered process server or someone over 18 who is not a party to the case hand-deliver a copy of the summons and complaint to the LLC's registered agent or an officer or manager of the LLC.

b. Service by mail: You can mail a copy of the summons and complaint to the LLC's registered agent, along with two copies of a notice and acknowledgment of receipt form. The agent must sign and return the acknowledgment form within 20 days.

4. Proof of Service: After serving the LLC, the person who served the documents must complete a Proof of Service form (POS-040) and file it with the court to demonstrate that the LLC was properly served.

If you have already served the court paperwork to the attention of the LLC at the addresses from your lease paperwork, you should check if those addresses match the registered agent's address or the LLC's official business address. If not, you may need to re-serve the documents to the correct address.

It's highly recommended to consult with an attorney experienced in civil litigation to ensure that you have properly named and served the defendants, as failing to do so could result in your case being dismissed.

Justia Ask a Lawyer is a forum for consumers to get answers to basic legal questions. Any information sent through Justia Ask a Lawyer is not secure and is done so on a non-confidential basis only.

The use of this website to ask questions or receive answers does not create an attorney–client relationship between you and Justia, or between you and any attorney who receives your information or responds to your questions, nor is it intended to create such a relationship. Additionally, no responses on this forum constitute legal advice, which must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case. You should not act upon information provided in Justia Ask a Lawyer without seeking professional counsel from an attorney admitted or authorized to practice in your jurisdiction. Justia assumes no responsibility to any person who relies on information contained on or received through this site and disclaims all liability in respect to such information.

Justia cannot guarantee that the information on this website (including any legal information provided by an attorney through this service) is accurate, complete, or up-to-date. While we intend to make every attempt to keep the information on this site current, the owners of and contributors to this site make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to from this site.