New Law Threatens Traditional Process Service in Washington
Process servers in the state of Washington will notice some changes come January 2016 after the quiet passing of Senate bill 5387 into Washington law. The bill, which added new sections highlighting the manner in which process service can be effectuated on registered agents of corporations, may be a harbinger for things to come in terms of electronic service across the U.S. in the process serving industry.
Process servers have long been hand delivering legal documents to the registered agents of companies for various types of legal proceedings. The RAs typically expect the service and accept documents without incident, which has made these kinds of serves highly desirable for process servers.
The new sections addressing process service span just five pages and are hidden deep within a 245 page document. Despite its subtle inclusion in the original bill, the ambiguous language of the added sections presents a magnitude of negative implications for process servers because it opens up the door to a variety of other means of service for lawyers, banks, and collection agencies outside of traditional process service. From the text of the bill and soon to be law, it is apparent that those needing service will now be able to turn to certified mail, commercial delivery service (such as FedEx or UPS), and potentially even service by email.