Can Someone Leave a Summons Taped to my Front Door? Is this Legal?

Share the Knowledge!

“My son found a summons addressed to me from a law firm suing me for a past due amount on a credit card. The summons was taped to the front outside door of where I live in New York city. It was taped there and any stranger passing by could read it. Is this legal?”

[NOTE: Articles and answers on DearEsq., while written and published by lawyers, do not constitute legal advice, and no attorney-client relationship is formed by your reading of this information. You should always consult with an attorney for any legal situations.]

It’s unclear what your question is – are you asking whether it is legal for a process server (the person attempting to serve the summons on you) to leave the summons where anybody can see it? Or are you asking whether it was a valid service (i.e. have you legally been served and do you have to respond?) While the laws of each state vary, it’s likely that it was legal for the summons to be left where anybody can see it – after all, legal documents are almost always public documents, unless the court has a reason to seal them (make them non-public). In fact, in many cases, if one cannot find the person one is trying to serve, one can instead take out a notice in the newspaper.

As to whether it was a valid service – in other words, are you required to respond: if the service is not valid, and you contest it, they will just do it again. So an equally, if not more, important question is: do you owe the money? If so, they the right thing to do would be to work out a payment plan with the company.

Share the Knowledge!

Author: House Attorney

A house attorney has answered this question.