I had a pleasant surprise this afternoon in the form of an email from the plaintiff in Martinez v Newhart. She was finally able to serve Dr. Newhart after numerous failed attempts. In her own words (used by permission):
I was finally able to serve Newhart this morning. We had tried the P.O. Box and they told us they could not accept it, so we ended up going to his office in Inglewood. Samantha Belhuemer, his office manager from the Laguna Niguel office, accepted the papers.
I was so surprised at the appearance his office building in Inglewood. It was horrible. They make it look so nice on the website.
We go to court June 18th. Can’t wait to get this over with.
By the way, you should make your readers aware that the Laguna Hills court house will be closed effective July 1. Small Claims cases will be heard in Newport Beach and Civil cases in Santa Ana.
The court closure announcement can be found here.
I’m frankly surprised that the person at the UPS Store where Dr. Newhart has his P.O. Box wouldn’t accept service. My immediate thought was that perhaps Dr. Newhart had cancelled the PO Box. But that didn’t make sense given that he has just registered it as the legal address for a new corporation (see previous post). I’m wondering now if the person at the UPS Store didn’t understand his or her legal obligation to accept service for holders of private PO boxes. Here’s a good article from the Sacramento Press speaking precisely to this point. I’ve updated the Small Claims Howto with detailed information that should help if you find it necessary to bludgeon a reluctant mail clerk into submission (or acceptance, in this case!)