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Competent member of household does not mean family member. It means anyone who resides at that residence, including full time live in nannys, maids, gardeners, friends, etc.. As long as person resides ther full time they can be considered members of household.
Person apparently in charge does not mean, as some process servers believe, a manager or officer of business or place of mailing. It means "the person apparently in charge. If, at an office, receptionist will not let process server see anyone else in office, then receptionist is highest person in charge that server can serve. If only person who works at a mail box service says that he or she is only a clerk, that person is still person apparently in charge.
Serving a complaint in a gated community or security building where security guard will not allow entrance. On May 28, 1992, in case of Robert Bein vs Bechtel-Jochim, California Court Of Appeals held that a guard gate does constitute part of dwelling and therefore guard is a competent member within dwelling. The court reasoned that if a process server is not permitted to proceed to actual residence, then outer bounds of actual dwelling place must be deemed to extend to location at which process server's progress is arrested.
Reasonable diligence has been interpreted differently in different jurisdictions, however, we have found that if three attempts are made at least eight hours apart and if at least two of those attempts are made at address wher papers are served then a substituted service on fourth attempt is usually considered valid.
The foregoing information is not given as legal advice. It is instead given as information and opinion gathered and developed through experience over last thirty years. David Hallstrom is owner of Hallstrom Detective Agency and although agency no longer offers process serving services, it has, through it's servers, completed service of several hundred thousand legal documents. Although author believes information to be accurate no guarantee is made or implied.
Permission is given to reprint this article providing credit is given to author, David G. Hallstrom, and a link is listed to Resources For Attorneys owner of this article. Anyone or any company reprinting this article without giving proper credit and correct link, is doing so without permission and will be subject to legal action.