Service of Process Peculiarities

Athletes in Law Special Issue

When I speak to various groups wanting to learn more about service of process in Minnesota, the Q & A portion of the presentation invariably results in request for stories about some of the more colorful service occurrences I have experienced in my 35 years in the industry. Although in previous articles I have made it clear that most service instances are routine and mundane, when as an organization we have served over a million and a half legal papers it follows that there will always be circumstances beyond the ordinary worth noting as interesting or amusing stories. I will share a few in this article.

Showered From Above

On a bright sunny afternoon, the process server is at the front door repeatedly knocking and ringing the doorbell as he is convinced the defendant is at home. While doing so, he is inexplicably showered with liquid from above. It clearly is not raining, so the process server steps away from the door looking up, only to realize that he has just been urinated on by the defendant who is standing at an open window above the door with his pants open. Could the server provide a thorough description of the defendant? I think so!

A Graceful Entrance

On a Saturday morning following a rain turn to snow night, the server went to a residence that had a steep driveway leading down to the house which sat well below street level. Once the server had entered the driveway she quickly realized that she had no traction on the ice covered pavement. With brakes ineffective, she gained speed as she slid down the driveway crashing head on into the defendant’s garage door- knocking it completely off its track and on top of the defendant’s car … a unique way to knock on the door! Service occurred, as did the sharing of insurance information.

The Hoarder

A foreclosure was to be served at a residence that turned out to be a hoarder’s house. When the occupant opened the front door, the stench emanating from inside was so intense, that the process server turned and vomited in the bushes while standing on the front stoop. We later learned that the occupants of the home included not only the person we served, but over 50 dogs and cats as well. The home was so contaminated with pet waste and fleas, that it was ultimately razed.

The Forklift

Service was made upon the owner of a construction company who was not interested in accepting service. After the process was left at the owner’s feet, the server went out to the parking lot to leave the premises only to find that the owner had directed one of his employees to lift her vehicle off the ground with a very large forklift causing substantial damage to the undercarriage of her car. After dealing with sheriffs and tow trucks and criminal charges, the owner was served again with a lawsuit to repair the damages.

I hope you found this smattering of stories interesting or amusing. Admittedly I have none that include car chases, gunfights or wrestling matches as although people being served are often unhappy, evasive or combative, the exchange with the process server rarely results in any kind of violent physical confrontation. … Knock on wood!

Scott Gray

Scott Gray is the vice president and operations manager for Metro Legal Services with over 30 years of process service experience. Metro Legal Services, in its 43rd year of operation, is the leader in the upper Midwest in providing ancillary services to the legal community. Questions and comments are welcome at (612) 349-9512. For more information, visit

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