Friday, December 16, 2011

Service of Process in Gated Communities in California

Photo by: renjith krishnan
According to the California laws on service of process in gated communities, process servers must be provided access to a gated community when performing a service (This applies only to certain documents, always check with your court for the rules of the documents you intend to serve). Any person shall be granted access to a gated community for a reasonable period of time for the purpose of performing lawful service of process or service of a subpoena.¹

In instances where a security guard is present and the guard denies entrance to a community or building and the legal documents allow for substitute service, the server can still continue to make “reasonable diligence”. If diligence has been attempted by the server to enter the community but is still denied access by the security guard, a substituted service can be made on that guard pursuant to CCP 415.2. In the case of Robert Bein vs Bechtel-Jochim, the California Court Of Appeals held that a guard gate does constitute part of the dwelling and therefore the guard is a competent member within the dwelling. According to the court, the outer bounds of the dwelling place must be considered to extend to the location at which the process server's progress is arrested. ²

  1. California Code of Civil Procedure, section 415.21, (a)
  2. Bein v. Brechtel-Jochim Group, Inc. (1992)
    6 Cal. App. 4th 1387 [8 Cal. Rptr. 2d 351]

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