In today’s news: a celebrity is served with custody proceeding papers “while on stage in front of 4,100 people.”
It can be difficult to personally serve process on a party. especially with a celebrity. And some actions, such as a matrimonial action, may require actual personal delivery. DRL 232. In New York, CPLR § 308(1) provides that “[p]ersonal service upon a natural person shall be made . . . by delivering the summons within the state to the person to be served.” Such service “must be clear and unequivocal so that a reasonable defendant knows he or she has been served with process.” Weiss v. Glemp, 792 F. Supp. 215, 224 (S.D.N.Y. 1992). “New York courts have interpreted the delivery requirement of § 308 strictly.” Id. at 224. Consequently, the requirement that the summons and complaint be delivered “to the person to be served has been applied in accordance with its plain and literal language.” Dorfman v. Leidner, 76 N.Y.2d 956, 957 (1990) (internal quotation marks omitted).
NOTE: To avoid raising the temperature in any family litigation (or for that matter in any litigation), consider a notice to the other party of your intention to serve and ask if they will accept service. Of course, you may risk avoidance and that may increase costs.