Process ServerWe’ve all heard this term used in the movies and in television. The scene is always the same. A process server will hand papers to an unsuspected man or woman, and as soon as the documents are exchanged, you hear, “You’ve been served!” Is this occurrence only in the movies, or does it happen in real life, too?

Dr. John Patrick Keefe II, a process server in Oklahoma City, says that it all depends on the mood of the situation. There are times when this phrase is uttered, and there are times when it is not. One popular TV show that consistently uses “You’ve been served,” is “Scandal.” You might hear the phrase spoken at least once per episode.
Check out what a few members of the LinkedIn Process Server Group had to say:

Group member Susan Adams explains, “I usually tell them that they have been served and have 30 days to answer the complaint that is with the summons. If they have to appear on a court date already set, I let them know that if they no show, then they will get a default judgement against them.” Upon further inquiry and concerns that it could upset an individual who is already suspicious, Adams explained her stance. “Keep in mind, I do NOT discuss their papers, I let them know that they ARE court papers and have a clock ticking on it.” She also noted that one of her clients always requests that when serving divorce papers she verbally tells the defendant that they are being served, the dates and that a default judgement will be made in their absence. 

The only time I have ever said “you’ve been served” was when I served a defendant on a commercial plane at the airport in Boston,” member Mark Weisberg explained. He furthered that the only reason he did was that the defendant had bragged to his ex-wife that she would not be able to have him served for contempt because he was living in Europe.

– Mark Weinberg

Rob Grant explained that he tells about 1 in 10 people that they are being served. “Mostly those who have an attitude that is negative, or someone who keeps asking what the document is,” he said.

I always tell them they are being served. Once they are identified and handed the papers they are told that they have been served. If they ask what it is, I tell them I do not know. I just serve them,

said member Troy Houghtaling Sr.

Testimonials courtesy of LinkedIn and

Most process servers agree that using the line will rarely do anything good for the situation at hand. The best thing you can do is treat the recipient with respect and courtesy. Just like we’ve been told when we were kids, “Treat others the way that you wish to be treated.” If you follow this golden rule during a process serving job, your experience will go a whole lot smoother.

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