Can I Personally be Served Legal Documents by the Defendant?

Note: The DearEsq free 'ask a lawyer' site is offered as a free informational service to the public and is not intended as legal advice. Laws vary from state-to-state, and in addition every situation is unique, and relevant facts may not be known. The answer to the question posed below may not apply to in your state or to your situation. For legal advice in your state and your situation you should consult with an attorney in your state who is familiar with the rules and laws in your state.

I am a resident in a mobile home park. My landlord is suing me for unlawful detainer. Service of some notices, such as the court date, are sent through the U.S. mail. The landlord receives the mail and then distributes it to all the residents. Is this a conflict of interest and would this make service of these notices defective?

The technical answer is that it depends, but the real answer is that it doesn’t matter. Let me explain. Some notices can be served by mail, and some cannot. The ones that can be served by mail are considered served if sent to your address of record, which would be the one you gave the court when you filed papers (or, if you haven’t filed yet, the address you gave for notices in your lease). The fact that the address you gave is handled by your landlord probably wouldn’t invalidate it (though you could make an argument. . .).

If a notice that is required to be given in person is instead sent by mail, then yes, it would be invalid and would entitle you to take legal steps to delay the process. But, and here’s the part where it doesn’t matter, you have to go to court to argue the invalidity of the notice. And once you’re there, you’d better be ready to argue the rest of the case, in the event the court doesn’t agree with you about the notice.

Evictions move quickly, and I would strongly advise you to consult with an attorney who is familiar with mobile home evictions (which are different from ordinary evictions) as soon as possible in order to maximize your chances for a good outcome.