I just received an email from a homeowner which stated that he “refused” service of process.
I flew into a fit of rage. It took me 10 minutes just to calm down before answering his actions.
By nature, we have a tendency to avoid conflict. We don’t like confrontation. A process server coming to your door, at any hour of the day or night, means that a confrontation is about to occur which is at best unsettling, causing conflict in your life. In the case of a married couple, you can expect that once a process server delivers their spate of bad news, you can bet that there will be immediate strife in the household. Tempers flare. Blood pressure goes up. Insomnia due to worry sets in. For all practical purposes, emotion rules. Common sense goes right out the window. So, naturally, our tendency is to avoid service. I believe this is wrong (and so do many attorneys I’ve talked to). So I’ve put together a list of 5 brief reasons why NOT to avoid (or in the alternative) refuse service of process.
REASON #1: You won’t know who your enemies are!
You’ve heard the old saying, “Keep your friends close and your enemies closer.” This saying came about for a reason, especially in the legal profession.
When you don’t understand WHO is coming after you, you won’t know how to establish an “End Game Strategy” to beat down the action being taken against you.
REASON #2: You won’t know why your enemies (whoever they may be) are coming after you!
If homeowners (as Borrowers on a Note) haven’t been able to make their mortgage payments, chances are likely they’ll figure out why a process server is attempting service of process … because the bank (or servicer) wants their money and they are tired of waiting. On occasion, a servicer will send out notices (in the form of door hangers) through their local contacts, tipping off homeowners that service of process for a lawsuit (or non-judicial foreclosure sale) is likely imminent. If you have more than one property, you definitely won’t know which property is being affected because you’re “not in the loop”.
REASON #3: You won’t have a legal “foot in the door!”
One of the first ways foreclosure defense attorneys can defeat a case is to make the other side do its job properly. On many an occasion, a servicer has hired a process server to serve process and it was done improperly for whatever reason (tacking a note up on the door, which later blew away; false attestation, etc.) and thus, attacking service of process is the first line of defense in making the entire foreclosure process have to be refiled again. Homeowners (as Borrowers) do not understand this principle because they’d rather “play ostrich” and stick their heads in the sand. Remember, avoid conflict at all costs, unless it proves to be fatal. In many states, refusing service when confronted can also mean service was accepted. Judges don’t like it when the party being served deliberately says “NO” to process, because it’s their right to know what they’re being accused of doing (or not doing). Judges have also been told to clear their dockets of issues like this, which is a precursor to a default judgment being issued against you. It’s one thing NOT to be home when the process server calls, it’s quite another to refuse service when it could be something financially critical to your future well-being (and that of your family).
REASON #4: You have no idea how to strategize a defense to the service, let alone anything else!
Many foreclosure defense attorneys understand that attacking improper service of process only frustrates the foreclosure process and doesn’t stop it altogether. However, understand that if the other side is going to bring a claim against you, don’t you think they need to follow the letter of the law? After all, this likely involves dispossessing you of your property and if they don’t do something as simple as to properly serve you with the paperwork, how do you know if everything else they’ve done is right too?
REASON #5: Time is of the essence!
No matter what the outcome of service, time is working against you the longer you wait to accept service. I’ve known at least one person that has deliberately made himself scarce when he knows a process server is attempting to serve him with papers. He thinks that by avoiding service, he’s going to be able to delay his day in court. Unfortunately, after a time of trying to serve a party at their residence, the process server will contact the attorney handling the opposition’s case and make mention of the facts (that you’re either avoiding or refusing service) at hand and the attorney may then request from the judge to allow for substituted service (meaning someone else close to you can be served in your stead), which makes you an open target for service at your place of employment or through a relative who lives nearest to you.
Once service has been completed, you have a timetable in place. In judicial states (mortgage states) you have 20 to 30 days to respond to the complaint. If you don’t, a default judgment can be entered against you and the foreclosure will be commenced against the property without your knowledge and probably at a time most inconvenient to you (or your loved ones). The last thing I’d want to see is someone being kicked to the curb. See below (from the film 99 Homes):
The setting of a timetable forces you to have to act to stop whatever is coming after you. For the average homeowner, this means spending money you don’t have hiring an attorney to draft and file and answer to the Complaint. The average homeowner should also understand that many attorneys aren’t real well versed in foreclosure defense and are likely to admit to things that they don’t understand. Even worse, should a pro se homeowner proceed without at least some assistance of counsel, they are likely to screw themselves out of their home permanently, while putting their spouse or family at equal risk.
This is one of the reasons why we set up the FORECLOSURE DEFENSE WORKSHOP!
If you don’t know your rights, you don’t have any!
Here is an opportunity to learn from one of the best foreclosure defense attorneys in Florida! (see below)
Here … you have an opportunity to learn to fight back!
Download the Workshop application here: FDW ORLANDO REGISTRATION FORM
Yes, DK Consultants LLC is sponsoring this event. This is the only event in 2017 and the ONLY event custom tailored to pro se litigants!
This means, you’re going to get educational information that is vital to saving your home … not just some sort of “delay game” strategy used by most Florida foreclosure defense attorneys!
ENROLL NOW! SEATING IS LIMITED!