In tough times, debt collectors get tough. We’ve all read about the tactics some banks, or their collection agencies, have used to foreclose on mortgaged properties. Other creditors have also been tempted, and have sometimes proceeded, to use strong arm tactics to collect on ordinary loans, store credits, and the like. A Brooklyn Heights process service agency, Samserv Process Servers, located at 147 Remsen Street, has been sued for allegedly aiding unscrupulous creditors in securing judgments, sometimes on non-existent debts, by means of what is called “sewer service”.
Brooklyn Daily Eagle: A Brooklyn Heights process service company is accused of participating in rampant “sewer service” in a lawsuit that has a hearing next week in federal court.
“Sewer service,” so called for when a process server metaphorically throws a complaint and notice into a sewer outside a defendant’s home and then claims to have served notice, has long been seen as a rampant problem in Brooklyn, especially for low-income Brooklyn debtors.
Serving individuals (companies doing business in New York must designate the Secretary of State as their agent for service) with process is, as you may imagine, sometimes quite tricky. In New York, the preferred method of service is to deliver process, in-hand, to the defendant who, of course, will not want to sign for it. Therefore, the process server is allowed to file an affidavit stating that in-hand service was made on the defendant, along with a physical description of the person on whom it was served. If the defendant eludes in-person service, the server is allowed to “nail and mail”, that is, to attach a copy of the summons to the entrance to the defendant’s last known address, and to mail a copy to the defendant at the same address (certified or registered mail is not required because the defendant could always refuse to accept such mail). “Sewer service” occurs when a server files a false affidavit stating that the defendant has been served in this manner when, in fact, no such service has been made. If the court accepts the affidavit, and if the defendant does not respond to the summons within thirty days of the filing of the affidavit, the creditor may seek a default judgment in the court.
To avoid this kind of fraud, a bill has been enacted in New York that will require process servers to file with the affidavit of service evidence, based on a GPS tracking device, of their location at the time of the claimed service.