There have been many questions and concerns about the new Process Serving bill in New York and the New York State Professional Process Server’s Association created a great Q & A to assist process servers in understanding what is happening with the new bill and what they need to do to be prepared for the changes.
When will this bill be enforced?
The New York City Process Servers Licensing Bill has not even been signed by the Mayor yet. After it is signed, it will not be enforced for at least six months. During that time the DCA will have to set up proper guide lines for all process servers to follow. NYSPPSA plans on being a big part of that process and will be informing our members of the progress along the way. The Bill also gives the DCA an extension on the initial 6 months for parts of the bill like the GPS.
My company sends out service to NYC all the time but I am located outside of the city boundaries, do I still need to get an Agency License?
If your company uses independent licensed contractors to serve in the city, than according to the new law you WILL have to apply for an agency license. If you forward your work to a licensed agency you will NOT need to be a licensed agency. This was changed at the last minute prior to the change any company that forwarded work to an agency or process server would have to be licensed. Now you have a choice. You could get an agency license or forward the work to a licensed agency.
I am getting phone calls from software companies telling me I need to sign up for a GPS system now to be prepared, should I?
Since the GPS process of this bill has not been set by the DCA it would be premature to sign up for a system. There has not been a system that has been approved and the DCA, and they have informed us that they want the system to be cost effective. NYSPPSA will be working hard on evaluating all new systems and will be informing our members on the pros and cons. We ask our members to wait to hear from us prior to purchasing or signing up for a GPS system. Again we have time, so let’s use this time to get it right.
Should I apply for a bond today in order to be prepared for tomorrow?
Again, the DCA has not set up the requirements for the bond, as of yet, and we have been informed that the bonding companies will not be able to bond process servers until those requirements are set. NYSPPSA will be contacting Bonding agents to try and get the best deal for our members. So as the committee decides the proper requirements we will be working with the bond companies.
After I get the bond, should I drop my E & O insurance?
In the case of a law suit, it is important to understand that a bond of any amount does not protect the process server nor an agency. What a bond does is simply guarantee payment of a judgment. The bonding company will pay the recipient of that judgment and then go after you to pay them back. E & O insurance will not only pay if a judgment is issued against you but will also defend you in that law suit as well. So E & O insurance does have value, the final decision is up to you but NYSPPSA wants to make sure that you know the difference.
Is it true that I can now be found liable to the recipient if found guilty of improper service?
It is stated in the new bill that a process server and its corresponding agency can be sued directly by the recipient if notification was done improperly. Many of us believed that you were susceptible to a law suit prior to this bill, the only difference is now it is writing. You will only be held liable for punitive damages if it is proven that you willfully lied about service. Meaning you threw the service away and lied about on an affidavit. For this reason, the City council made the bonding mandatory to ensure payment if you have a judgment against you.
Posted by Stephanie Mitchell, a Pensacola Process Server, Reprinted with permission by Larry Yellon, President of the NYSPPSA (Reprinted with Permission)