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Is Kushner Really Evading Service?

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By George Khoury, Esq. on July 23, 2018 4:00 PM

There's no doubt that the current administration is a lightning rod for litigation (like most are). However, one influential, but not very vocal member, seems to be rather skilled at evading service.

The lawsuit filed by the DNC against Paul Manafort, President Trump, and Jared Kushner, alleging collusion with Russians, has not yet been served on Kushner, despite several attempts. One attempt was refused by Secret Service. Another attempt was refused by someone at his apartment. Another was refused by the staff and security at his apartment. And the attempt to send via certified mail was returned because no one would sign for it.

Evading Isn't Playing

While Judge John Koeltl seemed to hold back a bit, he did throw the DNC attorneys a bone when he stated:

Service is not intended to be a game for the serving party or the party to be served. The court is confident that the DNC's counsel can contact Kushner's counsel and arrange a mutually convenient means to effectuate service.

Service Tips

For litigators out there, when a defendant evades service, it can often be infuriating. After all, process servers cost money, and having to get an extension of time to serve, or serve via alternative means, costs both time and money. And while you know that, in the end, after a couple motions, a judge will permit you to serve via publication or posting, everyone would rather avoid that. Below, you can find a few tips to help you effect service on an evasive defendant.

1. Send a letter explaining you are trying to serve them and have been met with evasive conduct. Explain that you will have to hire a private investigator who will find and serve them, unless they agree to accept service. You can also attach and highlight that the next step will be service by publication, and explain that there's no escape from that.

2. If you can use a sheriff or law enforcement department to serve, give it a try. While an evading defendant might not open the door for a stranger with an envelope, they might for a law enforcement officer. ProTip: Sending an officer to someone's work is one way to make sure the docs get delivered, as most employers will require their employee to actually come meet the officer.

3. Get creative (but maybe check with you state's ethics hotline before getting too creative).

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