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NAPPS Standards and Best Practices Blog
Thursday, 13 October 2005
Guidelines for Forwarding and Receiving Service Assignments
Following is a DRAFT of the Guidelines for Forwarding and Receiving Service Assignments, Timely Service, Preparation and Return of Affidavits or Proofs of Service. This is posted so that NAPPS Members can comment on it, and see other comments.

NAPPS Definitions for Exchanging Assignments

The following are definitions that are presumed by members exchanging assignments. Each office may refer to DO TODAY, RUSH, and ROUTINE assignments differently, and if so, SPECIAL INSTRUCTIONS should indicate otherwise. The definitions are based upon the day when the receiving agent actually receives the documents, not when they were sent.
• DO TODAY means that service of the paper is to be attempted the same day it is received.
• RUSH means that service of the paper must be attempted within forty-eight (48) hours of receipt.
• ROUTINE means that a first attempt to serve a paper must performed within four (4) days of receipt.
• SPECIAL INSTRUCTIONS means the specific written instructions provided to a receiving member by a sending member on special service requirements including, but not limited to, deadlines for service or process, statute of limitation expiration dates, time and place for filing of affidavits or proofs of service, and other unique circumstances.

NAPPS Request for Service Form

The Board of Directors has adopted the Request for Service Form as an official publication of the association. This form is highly recommended for use by members when forwarding service of process assignments to other members. The use of this form is optional. If another form is used, it is recommended that similar information be provided in order to avoid problems or misunderstandings of a request for service. In the event of a dispute between members, the Request for Service Form, or similar written instructions, will be considered in the Grievance and Arbitration process.

Affirmative Responsibilities
Sending Member


The following are Affirmative Responsibilities and Guidelines and expectations of a member sending an assignment to another member.
• Contact receiving member to obtain price quote, payment policy and the member’s availability to complete assignment as required.
• Verify receiving member’s current address for receipt of mail or overnight delivery.
• Verify receiving member’s current NAPPS status.
• Use NAPPS Request for Service form to provide details of service requirements, list of all documents to be served, verification of quoted service fee and unique circumstances, if any.
• Provide copy or concise summary of applicable service of process rules or statutes.
• Provide correct address for service.
• Prepay for service, if required by receiving member.
• Provide sufficient copies for service and mailing, if necessary.
• Specify what, if any, documents are to be returned to the sending members upon service or failure of service.
• Unless otherwise specified, only an invoice and a proof or affidavit of service will be returned upon completion of the assignment.

Receiving Member

The following are Affirmative Responsibilities and Guidelines and expectations of a member receiving an assignment from another member.

• Provide price quote, payment policy and availability to complete a service assignment when contacted by a sending member.
• Provide specific mailing or overnight delivery instructions.
• Review all documents when received and compare with details recited on the NAPPS Request for Service form.
• Immediately contact sending member if a discrepancy in the documents received is noted.
• Perform service assignment in the manner, and within the time, requested by sending member, consistent with the laws of the state in which the action is pending, or pursuant to applicable federal court rule.
• Mail, or caused to be mailed, a copy of papers on substituted services and postings when required.
• Perform due diligence or diligent inquiries only when required or authorized by sending member.
• Call sender the same day that a DO TODAY or RUSH service in attempted or completed.
• Use sender’s proof or affidavit of service form, if one is provided. Otherwise, provide a proof or affidavit of service necessary to file with the court.
• Notarize all affidavits of service in state actions if required.
• Send proofs or affidavits of service to the sending member within one (1) day of completion of a DO TODAY/RUSH assignment, or within three (3) days of completion of ROUTINE assignments.
• Send invoices and a proof or affidavit of service to the sending member.
• Unserved documents, with reimbursement for extraordinary postage or overnight mail charges, shall only be returned upon the request of the sending member.

Facsimile Communications

• Verify facsimile telephone number of receiving member before sending.
• Call before sending a fax to another member.
• Use facsimile cover sheet with each transmission specifying total number of pages sent and specific instructions.
• Specify reimbursement of copy or printing costs, if any.

E-mail Communications

• Verify e-mail address of receiving member and capability of receiving documents in portable document format (pdf) before sending.
• Use up-to-date anti-virus software to avoid transmission or receipt of viruses and other electronic defects.
• Specify title of documents, total number of pages being attached and specific instructions.
• Specify reimbursement of copy or printing costs, if any.


Affidavits or Proofs of Service

• Use affidavit or proof of service provided by sending member.
• Specify in the affidavit or proof of service the time and date of service, the name of the party served, the person to whom the papers were delivered, and relation to such person served. When required, provide a description of the person receiving the papers, and military status of the party.
• Do not include your fee for service of process on the affidavit or proof of service.
• Proofs and Affidavits of service, when fully completed, must be personally signed by the declarant or affiant.

Postage, Overnight Mail, Facsimile, Copy & Printing Costs

• Sending member shall be responsible for all extraordinary postage and/or overnight mail charges related to the forwarding and return of service
• Costs related to the receipt or sending of facsimile transmissions, per page copy or print charges, are to be quoted in advance by the receiving member when contacted by the sending member for a price quote, and shall not exceed $1.00.per page.

Prohibited Acts

• Never exceed authorized fee limit without prior approval from sending member.
• Never hold a paper for “front money” without promptly advising the sending member.
• If the assignment is completed, the agreed upon fee must be paid within 2 (two) weeks from when the Proof or Affidavit of Service is received by the sending member. Failure to pay within 2 (two) weeks may be deemed a failure to timely pay in future transactions between the members.
• Disputes over payment of fees should be resolved in the Arbitration and Grievance Committee.
• A Proof or Affidavit of Service may be withheld if the member has a prior history of failure to timely pay.
• Except in extraordinary or emergent circumstances, never contact the sending member’s client regarding an assignment unless specifically authorized to do so by the sending member. When doing so, indicate that you are calling on behalf of the sending member.
• Never forward your invoice or proof of service to anyone but the sending member.
• Never request an affidavit or proof of service to be signed in blank by any person.
• Never sign an affidavit or proof of service in blank.

Posted by t_klein at 11:11 AM PDT
Updated: Thursday, 30 March 2006 12:47 AM PST
Best Practices for Service of Process
On July 28, 2005 the Board of Directors revised the NAPPS Best Practices for Service of Process that had been adopted by the membership at the last annual conference. The revised version is set forth below with significant changes underlined:

1. For purposes of these Best Practices, “Primary service” of process refers to the service of initial or other process intended to acquire jurisdiction over a person or property. “Secondary service” of process refers to the service of subsequent papers exchanged between the parties following service of initial process. All of the following Best Practices refer to Primary service of process.

2. Service of process or other papers for the purpose of acquiring jurisdiction over a person or property should be performed by a disinterested third party.

3. The preferred and most effective method of service of process upon a party is in-person delivery of process to named party.

4. When in-person service upon a named party cannot be effected, the next best method of service should be in-person delivery of process to a person authorized by court rule or statute to deliver process to on behalf of named party. For example, this includes such persons as “member of household”, “person apparently in charge at usual place of business”, “person of suitable age and discretion”, “parent”, “guardian”, “registered agent”, and “statutory agent”.

5. When service cannot be effected as described in 3 and 4 above, the next best methods of service are alternate methods authorized by court rule or statute upon a demonstration of the fact that service cannot be effected by the methods in 3 and 4 above.. This would include provisions for service by mail, posting and publication.

6. When service cannot be effected by any of the methods described above, the Court, upon a showing that service cannot be effected by any of these methods, may order service to be done in a manner reasonably calculated to provide actual notice to the party.

Posted by t_klein at 11:04 AM PDT

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