23 Jul 2018

MAPPS Approves Recommended Affidavit of Service

by Davy Keith,

Author note: Davy is a charter member and former President of MAPPS (Mississippi Association of Professional Process Servers. Davy is a 20-year veteran of the process serving industry and owner of Quantum Process, LLC (formerly Keith Investigations, LLC).

The question of providing a “court approved” proof of service has been a topic each year at our Mississippi Association of Professional Process Servers (MAPPS) since its inception in 2010. The proof of service provided to your client is essentially the final product that you offer for services rendered. It is of utmost importance that such proof of service is rendered with zero errors. It should be as close to perfect as possible. What will “get by” and what is “correct” are absolutely two different issues. It is important to understand that proofs of service in state courts within the United States usually have their own approved has their own approved form and this tractate is limited to providing a correct court approved proof of service for Mississippi Circuit, County or Chancery Court.

Over the past 20 years of service process, I have gained the knowledge and understanding of what or which form to use for a Mississippi Summons in regards to a proof of service that complies with the form provided in Mississippi Rule 4. The form proof of service listed in “Forms” in Mississippi Rules of Civil Procedure was adopted by the Mississippi Supreme Court Rules committee March 1, 1985. The latest revision was made March 17th, 1995. This form was designed to be copied on the back of any summons issued in any Mississippi Circuit, County or Chancery Court Summons. The form is titled, “Proof of Service-Summons.” In my opinion, this form has a few issues.

The first issue I will discuss is that there is no area to include additional documents served in addition to a Summons and Complaint. Often, there is discovery, interrogatories, exhibits, etc that should be listed as served in conjunction with the Summons and Complaint. This form is also lacking the address where such person was served. Often, a summons will have the wording “or wherever he or she may be found.” The issue of where such person was served is a question that comes up in court and / or with counsel involved in the case. As previously stated, the form proof of service is designed to be printed on the back of the Summons. This is problematic when the Summons and other documents are served at an alternative location or address than what is provided or listed on the summons. ​With this form, there is no place for the server to enter the address where the papers were served when it was served at another address unless the server alters or hand writes another address on the summons or makes notes on the back of the summons on the approved form​. Both of these options are a poor choice as no summons should be altered in any way after service. The form also has a section to provide the server’s social security number. Due to security and identity theft, no court in Mississippi requires that this information be put on a proof of service that is available for public record.

Summons are routinely now being filed electronically. It is no longer necessary to have a “wet ink” summons accompany the proof of service filed in any court in Mississippi. In fact, this causes issues when an attorney or other person sends all of their original summons that were issued by the clerk to the server so that a proof of service may be completed on the back of the summons. If the original “return” summons is misplaced, complications may result as some clerks may or may not keep an original summons on file. There is no law or restriction serving a validly issued “copy” of a summons. Therefore, in my opinion it is not a requirement of Rule 4 to serve a summons by the clerk of court, and / or wet ink seal from the clerk. In my experience, it is now common practice in all Mississippi state courts that a proof of service may be a separate document ​without having to be printed on the back of an original summons​. In conclusion, Rule 4 only gives a form example of the proof of service. I believe that keeping the original wording and language provided in Rule 4 along with all the information requested on the example form, the additional information I have mentioned here is the best practice in providing a proof of service.

Davy Keith with Quantum Process, LLC designed and submitted a proof of service to be used in any Mississippi Circuit, County or Chancery Court that replicates the language and format of the original approved form proof of service previously mentioned. The proof of service covers the issues mentioned previously such as the address where the papers were served along with removing the Social Security of the process server from the form. This proof of service is a “stand alone” proof that includes the style of the case, exact documents that were served, along with needed information. In other words, this proof of service supplies all the required information and more. The wording was copied word for word in regards to the language adopted in the approved form as well as the general layout of the form. There are two separate forms that are used. One that reflects in hand personal service and one that reflects what the approved form calls “residence” service. Since these forms are prepared each time, electronically, there is no reason to have both methods of service listed when only one was achieved. It is important to note that if residence service is obtained, the date of the mailing required by Rule 4 must accurately reflect the date that the papers were mailed, first class postage pre-paid, to the address where the papers were served. This date usually is populated to the date that the papers were served. If this date is after the day it was served, the day must manually be changed so that the proof accurately indicates the date of the mailing of the copies after service.

Mississippi Affidavit of Service

These proofs of service were presented to the board members of MAPPS and were approved as the best proofs of service to use for Mississippi Circuit, County and Chancery Court as they not only comply with the needed language offered on the approved form but also include additional information that allows the proof to be presented as a stand alone document not required to be printed on the back of the summons served. MAPPS recommends that any service validly issued in any Mississippi Circuit, County or Chancery Court use this approved form for all proofs of service served personally or with residence service.

These “MAPPS-approved” proofs can be found at the links below:

These affidavits are also available in ServeManager. If you have a ServeManager account and you want access to these proofs, please contact ServeManager here to make them available in your account.

6 Jul 2016

Professional Process Server Verifiable Identification

In several jurisdictions throughout the Unites States, including Mississippi, the identities of persons authorized by court rule, or statute, to serve civil process are not readily available for public verification. Many of these jurisdictions do not require it, and simply allow for persons 18 years of age or older, who are not parties to the particular civil action that is being served, to serve the process. No registration or licensing is required.

As part of their duties, private process servers interact with various segments of their communities on a daily basis. Often, their identification as process servers is requested, or required.

PPSVID.com, established by PPS Collateral Services, allows for a voluntary enrollment of private process servers within their respective jurisdictions to make public their qualifications and identity. The process servers who voluntarily enroll are provided with standardized, verifiable identification cards. These may be viewed when presented to a requesting party, and can be further verified online by scanning a QR (Quick Response) Code on the card, or by selecting a “Click to Verify” button on a website. The response will be a similar image as that appearing on the identification card, and that person’s current status and relevant information.

For enrollment forms, requirements, and applicable fees, email request to [email protected]

10 Jul 2012

Process servers case before Miss. court

The Associated Press

JACKSON, Miss. — The Mississippi Supreme Court will review contempt of court citations filed by a judge against three people who allegedly lied about delivering subpoenas in child support cases.

In July of 2010, Jackson County Chancellor Neil Harris found Guy Jernigan, Thomas Corey McDonald and Edwin Cheshire in contempt of court for filing false affidavits and ordered them to pay $88,500 in sanctions and serve jail time until the money was paid.

In court documents, Harris has said Jernigan claimed he served a woman who was in jail and couldn’t receive a subpoena and another who had been dead for two years.

Jernigan and McDonald were process servers for First Fidelity Trust Services Inc., a subcontractor of YoungWilliams Child Support Services. Cheshire is identified in court documents as president of First Fidelity Trust.

All three appealed to Harris’ order to the Mississippi Supreme Court.

According to Harris’ order, Jernigan filed a sworn affidavit with the court clerk stating he served April Gray of Ocean Springs on May 6. But Gray was jailed at the Jackson County Adult Detention Center at the time and could not have received the document.

YoungWilliams is a Jackson company that had a $23 million with the Mississippi Department of Human Services to seek child support court orders.

The process servers claimed they delivered papers to people who were incarcerated and even to a woman who had been dead for two years, court records show.

Questions about the process servers prompted an investigation by MDHS.

The case is among dozens of appeals before the Supreme Court in its July-August term. The Supreme Court will not hear oral arguments in the case.

Read more here: http://www.sunherald.com/2012/07/10/4053848/process-servers-case-before-miss.html#storylink=rss#storylink=cpy

11 Jun 2012

National Due Process Day

National Due Process Day

Join MAPPS in celebrating National Due Process Day on September 25th (9/25/2012). National Due Process Day is a public awareness campaign aimed at ensuring that every American’s right to a fair trial is preserved. The Bill of Rights guarantees that no person shall be, “deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law.” The 14th Amendment further expands upon The Bill of Rights.

Constitutionally protected rights such as “due process of law” are integral to several professions including: attorneys, the courts, and professional process servers. MAPPS is one of the many groups committed to protecting the constitutional rights of citizens.

Service of process is an important step in upholding one’s constitutional rights. By notifying the party of pending legal action, process servers play an important role in ensuring that due process of the law occurs.

If you would like to join us in celebrating National Due Process Day, please call 1-800-477-8211.

More Information: [PDF]

4 Jun 2012

Process Servers Are Preferred

ServeNow conducted research that found process servers are preferred to sheriffs for a number of reasons, which you can see below. If you are looking for a Mississippi process server, you can search our members.

Read more at ServeNow.

1 Jun 2012

MAPPS Site Goes Live

The new MAPPS website is now online. The site is designed specifically to increase the number of MAPPS members, allow for communication at both a local and national level, as well as, disseminate relevant and timely news and information.

The website itself was designed with the end-user in mind. The MAPPS site is intended to be user-friendly and easy to navigate. Moreover, the website features an aesthetically pleasing and clean look. In terms of functionality, the website enables administrators from the association to update content quickly.

The MAPPS site features association-specific sections including:
-News about the Association
-Member sign up
-MAPPS blog
-Member directory
-Events section
-Vendor advertising
-Contact information

With this new website, MAPPS has an online destination where process servers nationwide can find information, apply for membership, find other process servers to forward papers and much more.

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