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Covering Jefferson and Berkeley Counties


Q. Are your background images photos of actual places in West Virginia?
A. Yes. West Virginia's known as "the mountain state" and its motto is "Wild and Wonderful". Both terms are accurate.

Q.  How long has State Court Services been in business?A.  State Court Services Inc. has been in the process service business since 2008 and has successfully served literally thousands of legal documents on behalf of our clients. 

Q.  Is State Court Services a member of NAPPS? (National Association of Professional Process Servers)

A. Corporations aren't allowed to join NAPPS. Only individual process servers are permitted to apply for membership.  One of our founders has been a NAPPS member in good standing since 2010.

Q.  In what locations does State Court Services serve legal documents?

A.  We serve in every incorporated and unincorporated place in Jefferson and Berkeley Counties, West Virginia.  If you aren't sure whether the place where you need service is within our service area you can check by clicking one of the links below.  They allow you to view county locations by place name or zip code.  Incorporated places will be visible when the landing pages initially displays. To see the unincorporated places you'll need to scroll down a bit. 

(Sorry for any inconvenience - We didn't design that site - we just link to it.)

   Jefferson County, WV Places:  https://westvirginia.hometownlocator.com/counties/cities,cfips,037,c,jefferson.cfm 

   Berkeley County, WV Places:   https://westvirginia.hometownlocator.com/counties/cities,cfips,037,c,jefferson.cfm 

On a case-by-case basis we may also serve in adjoining areas of West Virginia and areas in the neighboring Virginia counties of Loudoun and Clarke. If you need service in an adjoining area please call for more information. 

Q.  What does State Court Services charge to attempt service of a legal document?

A.  Our fees vary based on the location of the serve, the turnaround time required, the service rules that apply and any special requirements or restrictions that the client has attached to the serve.  Feel free to contact us for a quote. 

If you email us or use the form on our "Contact Us" page, please be sure to include the aforementioned information so we can provide you with a timely and accurate quote.

Q.  Aren't process service rules the same throughout the US?

A. For documents returnable in Federal courts, they are.

For documents returnable in state and local courts the laws and rules often vary by state, by jurisdiction and/or by type of court.  These courts include Administrative, Alderman's, Appeals, Chancery, Circuit, City, County, Claims, Common Pleas, District, Drug, General Sessions, Justice, Juvenile, Labor Relations, Land, Magistrate, Mental Health, Metropolitan, Municipal, Probate, State, State Tax, State Water, Superior, Supreme, Surrogate's, Township and Youth Courts. 

Legal documents need to be served according to the rules of the court where the action was brought, not the rules of the place where they are being served.  Jurisdictional process service rules, therefore, can greatly affect how easy or how difficult it may be to complete a particular serve.  To add to the complexity, a judge, magistrate or referee may impose "unwritten rules" about what they personally will or won't accept as a valid serve.

In addition, some clients or forwarders may have their own requirements, such as how quickly they want/need the documents served, the days of the week and/or the times of day that they want their attempts made, the number, frequency or spacing of attempts or any additional tasks that they want performed in conjunction with the attempts. 

Q.  What's involved in serving a legal document?

A.  There's a lot more to process service than most people realize. (We don't just open the mail and run out the door.) 

At State Court Services there can be as many as 25 tasks involved in attempting service of a legal document:

  • Receive the legal document via mail, email, fax, FedEx or UPS.
  • If received by email, print the document.
  • Check the documents and any attachments for accuracy and completeness.  
  • If any errors or omissions are suspected, contact the client.
  • Determine the rules for service. (Defined by the laws/rules of the jurisdiction where the document originated.)
  • Check for and record any information, instructions, special requests or service restrictions specified by the client.
  • Enter the document information and service requirements into our automated tracking and reporting system.
  • Send an email acknowledgement to our client, specifying the date and time that the assignment was entered and confirming the service level requested, any special requirements that were specified and the service fees.
  • If witness fees are required but weren't advanced by the client, the office manager either writes a check for them or requests prepayment from the client.
  • Print the process server's field sheet. (Information and/or specific instructions relating to that particular serve.)
  • Assign the serve to a process server.
  • The process server prioritizes his/her serves based on urgency, serve locations and any other considerations and organizes them into the most efficient route possible.  Mapping software is typically used for routing.
  • The process server drives to the serve locations. (Often multiple times.)
  • On each attempt, whether successful or not, the process server photo-documents the attempt, typically with the date, time and GPS coordinates imprinted on the photo.  (If a serve or an attempt is challenged we have proof that we were at the stated location on the date and at the time specified in our affidavit.)
  • The process server adds a narrative detailing what happened during each attempt and if served, includes the name, physical description and if applicable, the title or relationship of the person who accepted service.
  • If the serve was accomplished by posting the document, (affixing it to the door) which is allowed for serves from some jurisdictions the server photographs the documents in place.
  • As soon as possible after the attempt, the process server uploads the results directly from the field.
  • Following receipt of attempt/serve information from our process server, we report the results to the client via email.
  • Upon completion (either successful or unsuccessful) of each assignment, we create a computer generated affidavit of service or non-service.
  • The process server checks his/her affidavits for accuracy and completeness.
  • If all information is complete and correct, the process server signs each affidavit.
  • If required (Typically it is) a notary witnesses and notarizes the process server's signature.
  • The completed, signed and (in most cases) notarized affidavit is scanned and a copy is retained for our records.
  • If requested, a copy is emailed or faxed to the client for review prior to mailing the original.
  • The original affidavit is then mailed to the client.
  • The assignment is closed and the detailed information is archived and retained for possible future use.

Bottom line, there's not much difference in the amount of time and effort that goes into attempting to serve a document that couldn't be served versus one that we were successful in serving. 

Q.  What would prevent a legal document from being served?

A.  There are many reasons why a legal document may not be able to be served, including:

  • The service address provided to us may be incorrect or might not even exist. 
  • The service address may be vacant.
  • The servee (the person to be served) may no longer reside, or might never have resided at the address provided.
  • The servee may have lied to our process server about his/her identity. (A photo or description helps avoid this.)
  • The process server may never have found anybody home at the serve location.
  • There appeared to be activity at the location but nobody would answer the door.
  • The party to be served may live in a gated community and the process server was turned way at the gate.
  • The party to be served may live in a secure building and refused to admit the process server.
  • Personal (in hand) service may have been required but the party was never at the serve location when we were.
  • Other family members or roommates could be "covering for" the party to be served.
  • The serve address was a business and the employee refused to come to the lobby to accept service.
  • The serve address was an estate-like property that was fenced and gated and the server couldn't gain access.
  • The property where the serve was to be performed may be guarded by large, free roaming dogs. 

Yes, we've encountered all of those situations and more, but those are some of the most common reasons.

Q. Do your process servers carry firearms?

A.  Typically they don't.  We're all trained in ways to diffuse confrontational situations, and we've been quite successful at doing so.

The few situations in which one of our process servers might choose to carry a firearm would be if we were notified in advance that the party to be served had vicious dogs, may be intoxicated, is a habitual hard drug user, is mentally unstable, or had threatened to do physical harm to anybody who tried to serve him. 

Even in known dangerous situations like those, our preference would be to request that a law enforcement officer meet us at the serve location if at all possible, which tends to diffuse adversarial confrontations.  If that can't be arranged, the decision to carry or not to carry is left up to the individual process server.

Q. If State Court Services is unable to serve my legal document will I still be charged?

A. Yes. Typically it's more work to handle to conclusion a document that we were unable to serve than one that we were able to serve. It normally takes more attempts at different times of day and/or on different days of the week, especially in cases where the intended recipient keeps an irregular schedule or is trying to evade service. Often additional efforts such as automated or in-person address research or validation may be required.

Unfortunately, private process servers have no legal authority to demand identification from anybody at the serve location.  It's always helpful if the client can provide us with a photo or at least a description of the person to be served.

As to why process servers typically charge for unsuccessful service attempts, here's a simple analogy...

If you call a cab to take you to the theater, but the show is sold out when you get there, you still have to pay the driver.

Q.  Does State Court Services require prepayment before attempting to serve a legal document?

A.  We typically bill NAPPS members, law firms and attorneys after the fact.  We prefer prepayment from non-NAPPS members and private individuals.  If you're not a NAPPS member or an attorney but you want to be billed after the serve has been attempted and/or completed please feel free to give us a call to discuss your specific situation.

Q. Do I need to have a PayPal account in order to to pay online?

A. No.  PayPal is just the secure transaction processor that we use for online payments.  If you don't have a PayPal account you can still use the gateway on our Payments page to pay by credit or debit card via the PayPal site.

Q. Can State Court Services get legal documents served in other parts of West Virginia?

A.  As depicted by the background images on our site, West Virginia is a relatively sparsely populated state with a lot of very rural areas.  We have several affiliates and subcontractors that we work with in places throughout West Virginia.  Most of them are in the more populated areas, but some are in rural counties.

If we have an affiliate or subcontractor who covers the location where you need service we can quote a fee and manage the serve for you. If your documents need to be served in an area that's not covered by our affiliates or subcontractors, they would most likely need to be served by a sheriff. In that case we’ll direct you to the proper sheriff's department so that you can deal with them directly.

Please be aware that, because the primary role of a sheriff's department is law enforcement, service through a sheriff's department typically has a longer turnaround time than service by a process server.  Sheriff's departments typically won't allow clients to direct the times or dates when attempts must be made and usually don't provide real-time updates on their service attempts.  Their affidavits are often less detailed and/or may be handwritten. 

Q. Can State Court Services get legal documents served in states other than West Virginia?

A.  Most likely we can.  Over the years we’ve developed working relationships with process servers throughout the US, and even some in Canada, so chances are good that we have a reliable affiliate in the area where you need your documents served.  Give us a call or send us an email with the specifics of your assignment and we'll let you know.

Q. Can State Court Services get legal documents served in other countries?

With the possible exception of Canada, we've deliberately decided not to engage in process service in other countries.

International service of process can be complicated, time-consuming and costly.  It tends to be a highly specialized field that may require translation of your documents into the native language of the country where they need to be served as well as an understanding of the laws and/or service rules of the foreign jurisdiction.

If you need service of process in a foreign country country we’d suggest that you run a web search for “international process servers”.  Since fees are typically quite substantial and can vary greatly, it would be wise for you to contact several different international process servers and compare their pricing and anticipated turnaround time. 

We'd also suggest that you ask potential international process servers whether they have experience in getting documents served in the particular country where your serve would need to be performed.

Q.  I have a question that wasn't answered here.  What should I do?

A.  Just get in touch with us using any of the methods listed on our "Contact Us" page.  We'll be happy to answer your question if we can, and we may add your question and our response to this page.

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State Court Services