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New York City

 

Process Server Rules of the City of New York
Title 6
Department of Consumer Affairs

§2-231 Definitions.

For the purposes of the application of Subchapter 23 of Chapter 2 of Title 20 of the Administrative Code, (unless the context indicates otherwise), the following definitions apply.

Bound volume. “Bound volume” means a book or ledger that at the time of purchase contains a specified number of unfolded sheets of paper or other material that are permanently secured to covers by stitching, glue or any other such method that is calculated to make readily discernable the removal or insertion of one or more sheets after the first use of such volume.

Chronological. “Chronological” with respect to the notation in a process server record or log means that each notation shall be entered sequentially according to the time and date of the activity recorded and without leaving any blank spaces between each entry that would allow for the insertion of any additional notation between any two entries.

Contemporaneous. “Contemporaneous” in relation to entries in records means at or near the time of the event as to which an entry is recorded, or within a reasonable time thereafter.

Engaged in the business of serving. “Engaged in the business of serving” means the following:

(1) Service of five or more processes within the City of New York in any one calendar year; or

(2) One who assigns, distributes or delivers processes to another for actual service.

Image file. “Image file” in relation to scans of the records kept by process servers or process serving agencies means a file that contains graphic data such that the file is an exact replica of a specific set of data, and is saved as a portable data file (“pdf”).

Legible. “Legible” with respect to the handwriting in the record kept by process servers and in the scanned or copied images of such record means easily read and discernable in all of its details, and in no way obscured.

Paginated. “Paginated” means that each page in a volume or log, at the time of purchase, is sequentially numbered starting with the number “1″ or contains an indelible label stating the number of pages the volume originally contained.

Person. “Person” shall mean any individual, firm, company, partnership, corporation, association or other organization.

Portable media device. “Portable media device” as it pertains to electronic record-keeping means an electronic data storage device used to record and store data, such as a flash memory device, CD-ROM or external hard drive.

Process. “Process” shall mean a summons, notice of petition, order to show cause, subpoena, notice, citation or other legal paper issued under the laws of the State of New York directing an appearance or response to a legal action, legal proceeding or administrative proceeding; provided, however, that if under the laws of the State of New York the mailing of such legal paper is sufficient to effect service, such legal paper shall not be process for the purpose of this subchapter.

Process Server. “Process Server” shall mean a person engaged in the business of serving process upon any person, corporation, governmental or political subdivision or agency.

Process Serving Agency. “Process serving agency” shall mean any person, firm, partnership, association or corporation, other than an attorney or a law firm located in this state, or city marshal, who maintains an office, bureau or agency, one purpose of which is to assign or distribute process to individual process servers for actual service in the City of New York.

Scanning. “Scanning” in relation to electronic record-keeping means the process of translating a document into a digital form that can be recognized by a computer. A “scan” with respect to electronic record-keeping is the image file that is created by scanning.

§2-232 License Requirement Exceptions.

(a) No license under Subchapter 23 of Chapter 2 of Title 20 of the Administrative Code is required of any employee of any city, state or federal department or agency, who is acting within the scope of his employment.

(b) No license under Subchapter 23 shall be required of any attorneys duly admitted to practice in the State of New York.

(c) No license under Subchapter 23 shall be required of any employee of a process server or attorney who does not actually serve process.

(d) The provisions of Subchapter 23 shall only apply to service of process within the City of New York.

§2-232a Surety Bond Requirements for Process Server and Process Serving Agencies.

(a) The surety bond required under Section 20-406.1 of the Administrative Code shall be paid in full and must be effective for the entire term of the license.

(b) If a process server or process serving agency’s surety bond lapses for any reason, the license issued pursuant to Section 20-403 of the Administrative Code shall become void for such process server or process serving agency.

§2-232b Employee Exemption from Bond.

(a) Any process server seeking exemption from the bond requirement pursuant to Section 20-406.1(a) of the Administrative Code because he or she serves process exclusively as an employee of a licensed process serving agency shall furnish to the Department upon application or renewal, a certification from the licensed process serving agency for which he or she works in a form approved by the Commissioner that affirms that

(1) the process server serves process exclusively as an employee of the process serving agency;

(2) the bond that the licensed process server agency has furnished to the commissioner is conditioned upon the process server’s compliance with the laws and rules governing the activities of a process server and upon the further conditions set forth in Section 20-406.1(a) of the Administrative Code; and

(3) the process serving agency acknowledges that it must notify the Department in writing within five (5) days of the date that the process server ceases to serve process exclusively as an employee of the process serving agency.

(b) The process server or the process serving agency shall provide additional documentation that the Department may seek regarding the process server’s employee status.

§2-232c Process Server Trust Fund.

(a) Establishment. There is hereby established a Process Server Trust Fund (hereinafter, “the Fund”) to provide for the payment of outstanding awards to aggrieved consumers and fines owed to the City. The Fund shall be administered by the Comptroller of the City of New York pursuant to §93 (h) of the New York City Charter.

(b) Participation in the Fund. (1) To qualify for participation in the Fund, an applicant for a process server license or renewal therefore shall submit with such server’s application a copy of its completed application to two sureties approved by the Commissioner for the bond required by §20-406.1 of the Administrative Code of the City of New York and the original copies of the rejection or denial of such application by such sureties. Pursuant to such section, process serving agencies shall not be eligible to participate in the Fund.

(2) Any process server who qualifies for participation in the fund may participate by submitting with the application for a process server license or renewal thereof a certified check or money order in the amount $1,000, made payable to the New York City Consumer Affairs Department for depositing the amount in such Fund.

(3) A bonded licensee may participate in the Fund in lieu of continued compliance with the bond requirement of §20-406.1 (a) of such Code by submitting proof that consists of an original copy from the process server’s current surety denying renewal and the completed applications and original denials from two additional sureties approved by the Commissioner, and upon submitting to the Department a certified check or money order in the amount of $1,000 made payable to the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs, prior to the expiration or cancellation of the licensee’s bond.

(4) The required deposit to be made by applicants to participate in the Fund shall not be refundable upon the issuance of a process server license. If the Department denies issuance of a license or renewal thereof, the deposit made by the applicant shall be refunded within thirty days after the application for a license or renewal thereof is denied.

(5) Participation in the Fund does not relieve a licensee of any obligation to pay awards or fines imposed by the Department or judgments or arbitration awards rendered against the licensee by a court of competent jurisdiction. In the event that a process server’s license is revoked, surrendered or the process server fails to renew its license, and the Fund is invaded to pay an award, fine or judgment that was rendered against such process server pursuant to the provisions of the Code or these rules, no license shall be issued or reinstated to such process server unless the amount(s) paid out of the Fund on behalf of such process server is reimbursed by such process server in full.

(c) Invasion of the Fund. (1) If the Department has revoked a process server’s license or the licensee has surrendered or failed to renew the license, the Commissioner may require that disbursements be made from the Fund to pay to the City any fine, penalty or other obligation the City imposes relating to the violation of subchapter 23 of Chapter 2, Title 20 of the Administrative Code of the City of New York and any rules promulgated thereunder or to pay a final outstanding judgment recovered in an action arising out of the violation of the provisions of such subchapter.

(2) No disbursement shall be made from the Fund to pay an award, fine or judgment that is rendered against a licensee who has furnished a bond pursuant to the requirements of §20-406.1 (a) of the Administrative Code of the City of New York or against a process server who was not licensed by the Department or a participant in the Fund at the time of the violation.

(3) Disbursement from the Fund shall be made at the discretion of the Commissioner or his or her designee, provided, however, that invasion of the fund shall be limited to no more than $10,000 for all awards, fines or judgments arising out of a single service of process.

(4) The Commissioner or his or her designee may order that partial payment of awards, fines or judgments be made from the Fund.

(5) Nothing contained herein shall be construed to limit the rights and remedies of any party, including the Department, to pursue a cause of action against a process server who is a participant in the Fund.

(6) Nothing contained herein shall be construed to provide for the payment of awards or judgments rendered against Fund participants in personal injury actions.

(d) Accounting. The Commissioner shall, by January 31 of each year, cause an accounting to be made of all of the Fund’s activities during the preceding calendar year.

§2-232d Testing.

Every person who applies for a process server license or renewal thereof shall be required to pass an examination prior to being issued a license or renewal. Such examination shall test the applicant or licensee’s knowledge regarding proper service of process within the city of New York and familiarity with relevant laws and rules. The fee for this examination will be $75 and is not refundable. An applicant who fails the exam on the first attempt may take the examination a second time without an additional fee. After the second successive failure, the applicant’s application or renewal will be denied and he or she must reapply for a process server license.

§2-233 Records.

(a) Duty of individual licensee to keep records. Each process server shall keep records in compliance with the provisions of 89-cc of the General Business Law, as follows:

(1) Each process server shall maintain a legible record of all service made by him as prescribed in this section.

(2) The record to be maintained shall include the following information, where applicable:

(i) the title of the action or a reasonable abbreviation thereof;

(ii) the name of the person served, if known;

(iii) the date and approximate time service was effected;

(iv) the address where service was effected;

(v) the nature of the papers served;

(vi) the court in which the action has been commenced;

(vii) the index number of the action, if known.

(3) If service is effected pursuant to subdivisions one, two, or three of section three hundred eight of the civil practice law and rules, the record shall also include the description of the person served, including, but not limited to, sex, color of skin, hair color, approximate age, height and weight and other identifying features.

(4) If service is effected pursuant to subdivision four of section three hundred eight of the civil practice law and rules, the record shall also include the dates, addresses and time of attempted service pursuant to subdivisions one, two or three of such section. All attempts must be entered in a separate, chronological entry.

(5) If an affidavit of service is filed with the court, the record shall include the date of such filing.

(6) Process servers shall retain each record required to be kept under this §2-233(a) for a period of seven years from the date of service. Where a process server is employed as a process server by any person, a copy of such records shall also be maintained by such person at his principal office in this state for the same period.

(b) Licensees who serve process shall also maintain their records in the following manner:

(1) The licensee shall make a separate and contemporaneous entry of the date, time and address of every attempted and effected service of process in chronological order in a bound, paginated volume.

(2) The licensee shall make entries in only one volume at a time, which shall contain every attempted and effected service made by the licensee, until all of the available space in the volume is filled.

(3) The written entry for each service shall include the type of service effected whether personal, substituted or conspicuous.

(4) If service is effected pursuant to CPLR §308(4) or RPAPL §735(1), the entry shall include a description of the area adjacent to the door to which process is affixed including the color and composition of hallway walls, color and composition of hallway floor or doorstep, and location of premises in relation to stairs, elevator or entranceway.

(5) If service pursuant to RPAPL §735(1) is effected by affixing a copy of the notice and petition upon a conspicuous part of the property sought to be recovered or placing a copy under the entrance door of such premises then the record shall also include the dates, addresses and time of attempted service. All attempts must be entered in a separate, chronological entry.

(6) The entry shall include the name and license number of the process server organization from whom the process served was received, or, if not received from a process server organization, of such other person or firm from whom the process served was received.

(7) If service is made pursuant to RPAPL §735(1) in a manner other than by delivery of the notice of petition and petition to the respondent personally, the entry in the process server’s record of service or attempted service shall include the postal receipt number of registered or certified mail.

(8) Corrections in records shall be made only by drawing a straight line through the inaccurate entry and clearly printing the accurate information directly above the inaccurate entry. All other methods of correction, including but not limited to, erasing, opaquing, obliterating, or redacting, are prohibited.

(c) Duty of licensed process serving agencies to keep records. Every process serving agency shall keep complete and accurate records with respect to each individual licensee to whom it distributes, assigns or delivers process to be served. Such records shall be kept in a searchable manner that permits ready identification of (i) the daily activity of each such individual licensee and (ii) any or all process assigned or distributed for service by the name of the person or entity from whom the process serving agency received such papers for service.

(1) The records shall at a minimum include:

(i) The name and license number of the individual licensee to whom process is distributed, assigned or delivered to be served;

(ii) All of the information required to be maintained pursuant to paragraphs (1) through (5) of subdivisions (a) and paragraphs (3) through (5), and (7), of subdivision (b) of this rule.

(iii) A copy or a scan to an image file that legibly reproduces the original record in all details of the individual licensee’s record maintained pursuant to subdivisions (a) and (b) of this rule for each day on which the individual licensee attempted or effected service of the process assigned to the individual licensee;

(iv) A copy of every routing sheet, work order or other written instruction given to the individual licensee;

(v) Copies of any notes, memoranda or other writings submitted by the individual licensee containing information related to the attempted or effected service of process;

(vi) A copy of every affidavit of service signed by the individual licensee.

(2) Availability of records. All records shall be retained by the licensee for seven years or until further order of the Department and shall be available for inspection by the Commissioner of Consumer Affairs or his designee.

§2-233a Electronic Records.

Licensed process servers and process serving agencies must maintain records in an electronic format that is resistant to tampering.

(a) Process Servers. Process servers shall maintain electronic records in accordance with the provisions of this subdivision. A licensed process server may meet the requirement to maintain records in an electronic format as required by §20-406.3 of the Administrative Code by

(1) scanning into an image file that legibly reproduces in all details on a daily basis the original record the process server maintains in a bound volume pursuant to section 2-233,

(i) the image file shall be named with the date of the service recorded in the bound volume and the process server’s license number, and shall be date and time stamped with the date and time that the file was created; and

(ii) such scanning shall be done within twenty-four hours from the last event that the record records; and

(iii) the process server must save the scanned image file to a portable media device at least once per week and shall maintain the portable media device in a manner designed to ensure its security and preservation, including by keeping it in a location separate from the original image file; and

(iv) such portable media device shall be labeled with the process server’s last name, license number, and the date range of the records stored on the device; or by

(2) maintaining electronic records in accordance with the provisions set forth in subdivision (b) of this section.

(3) Nothing in this section shall be construed to relieve the licensed process server of the duty to maintain a bound, chronological, and contemporaneous record of service as provided under section 2-233 of this rule.

(b) Process Serving Agencies. Process serving agencies shall maintain electronic records in accordance with this subdivision. Such agencies must maintain all information required to be maintained pursuant to section 2-233(c) of this rule.

(1) Licensees shall input information required to be maintained pursuant to §2-233(c) into the electronic record-keeping system within twenty-four hours after the last event recorded occurred.

(2) The licensee shall use an electronic records management system that:

(i) ensures the authenticity, reliability and integrity of the digital records;

(ii) permits the efficient retrieval of digital records;

(iii) contains a backup support system such that the electronic records shall be capable of being reconstructed in the event of an electronic or computer malfunction or unforeseen accident resulting in the destruction of the system or the information contained therein.

(3) The information required to be maintained pursuant to section 233(c)(1) shall be maintained in electronic form in a format provided by the Department as an Excel spreadsheet and accessible at the following internet address: http://www.nyc.gov/processserver or by a third party document management system in any of the following formats provided that the records shall contain such separate fields with parameters as follows:

(i) name of the individual process server to whom service is assigned, which will be entered as last name, first name;

(ii) the license number of the individual process server to whom service is assigned, which will be specified as a seven digit number, where the first number shall be zero if the process server’s license number is less than seven digits;

(iii) the title of the action, if any;

(iv) the name of the person served, if known, which shall be entered as last name, first name;

(v) the date that service was effected, which shall be entered as MM/DD/YYYY;

(vi) the time service was effected, which shall be entered as military time;

(vii) the address where service was effected, which shall be entered as three different fields such that one field will be for the street address and any apartment number, the second field will be for the city or borough, and the third field will be for zip code;

(viii) the nature of the papers served;

(ix) the court in which the action has been commenced, which shall be entered as either Civil Court NYC, Civil Supreme, Criminal, Housing(L/T), or District Court, followed by the county of the court, the judicial department if appellate, or the federal district;

(x) the full index number, which shall be entered with all information necessary to identify the case, such as XXXXX/XX, unless the case is a Civil Local matter, in which case, it will include the prefix of CV, CC, LT, MI, NC, RE, SC, or TS;

(xi) if service was effected pursuant to subdivisions (1) through (3) of CPLR §308, a description of the person served which shall consist of six fields, including sex, hair color, approximate age, height, weight, and any other identifying features;

(xii) whether service was delivered, as indicated by a Y or N;

(xiii) the type of service effected, which shall be entered as a P for personal service, an S for substitute service, or a C for conspicuous service;

(xiv) if service was effected pursuant to subdivision (4) of CPLR §308 or subdivision one of RPAPL §735, a description of the door and the area adjacent.

(4) If the process serving agency elects to record the information required to be maintained pursuant to section 233(c)(1) itself rather than through a third-party provider, it shall convert such information into a portable document (“pdf”) format within twenty four hours from the last event the record records.

(i) The process serving agency shall ensure that the security settings for this converted pdf are set so that editing and printing of the document is restricted and no edits or changes may be made to the document.

(5) Licensees shall preserve the electronic records by either (a) submitting the record entries to a third party service on a daily basis or (b) copying the file to a portable media device within one week of a creation of the file. Such device must be maintained in a manner designed to ensure its security and preservation, including by keeping it in a separate off-site location. (c) Process servers shall not tamper with data or properties of any electronic record kept pursuant to this section after an image file is made by modifying, amending, deleting, rearranging or in any other way altering any such data or properties including but not limited to using a meta data scrubber or similar device or program.

§2-233b Electronic Record of Service.

Process servers shall comply with all rules regarding the tracking of service with a global positioning system (“GPS”) as shall be promulgated by the Commissioner.

(a) General Requirements.

A process server licensed pursuant to this subchapter must comply with the requirement of section 20-410 of the Code to carry at all times during the commission of his or her licensed activities, and operate at the time process is served or attempted, a device to establish electronically and record the time, date, and location of service or attempted service as follows:

(1) Equipment.

(i) The process server must obtain a mobile device, such as a telephone or personal digital assistant, that utilizes the software necessary to make an electronic record of the location where, and the time and date when, the record is made as determined by Global Positioning System (“GPS”) technology or Assisted-Global Positioning System (“A-GPS”) technology, and labels the record with the network date and time maintained by the mobile device, the DCA license number of the process server, the DCA license number of the process serving agency that has distributed the process for service, the name of the plaintiff or petitioner, the name of the defendant or respondent, the docket number (if any), the name of the person to whom process is delivered and a unique file identifier of the process being served.

(ii) The mobile device must be equipped with the software necessary to make an electronic record of the location where and time and date when the record is made, as determined by triangulated cell tower signals, in the event that at the time of the effected or attempted service of process a GPS signal is not available.

(iii) The mobile device software must automatically add that location, time and date information to the electronic record as soon as a GPS or cellular signal reaches the device if neither a GPS nor a cellular signal is present at the time the process server causes the electronic record to be made.

(2) Operation of Equipment.

(i) On every occasion that a process server attempts or effects service of process, the process server must ensure that the mobile device makes an electronic record of the GPS location, time and date of the attempted or effected service immediately after attempting or effecting service. In the event that no GPS signal is available at the time of attempted or effected service of process, the location, time and date will be determined by triangulated cell tower signals.

(ii) Each electronic record must be labeled with:

the GPS or cellular network date and military time maintained by the mobile device;

the DCA license number of the process server;

the DCA license number of the process serving agency that distributed the process for service;

the name of the plaintiff or petitioner;

the name of the defendant or respondent;

the docket number, if any;

the name of the person to whom process is delivered; and

a unique file identifier of the process being served.

(3) Contract for Services.

The process server must enter into a contract with an independent third party (“the Contractor”) pursuant to which the Contractor will provide services and perform functions described in paragraph (4) of this subdivision that enable the process server to meet the data storage and retrieval requirements set forth in such paragraph, provided, however, that if the process server performs process serving activities distributed to him or her by a licensed process serving agency, the process server may utilize the device and facilities for the electronic record of service that the process serving agency obtains under a contract with a Contractor.

(4) Data Storage and Retrieval.

The electronic record must be automatically transmitted electronically from the mobile device to the Contractor as soon as a GPS or cellular signal is available and location, date and time are entered into the electronic record. The Contractor must store the electronic record according to the following terms:

i. the original digital file must be maintained by the Contractor unaltered for a period of not less than seven years;

ii. neither the process server nor the process serving agency will be permitted to alter the original data, but may obtain copies of the original data file;

iii. the Contractor must maintain the records in a manner that will permit retrieval by the DCA license number of the process server, the DCA license number of the process serving agency that has distributed the process for service, the name of the plaintiff or petitioner, the name of the defendant or respondent, the docket number (if any), the name of the person to whom process is delivered and a unique file identifier of the process being served;

iv. the Contractor must maintain the records in a manner that will ensure that their integrity is adequate for admissibility in a judicial proceeding under the rules of evidence applicable in the state of New York;

v. the Contractor must produce upon request by the Department, and to any other party according to an appropriate order or subpoena, a copy of the electronic records, or any reasonably described part involved, certified to be true and accurate;

vi. the Contractor must provide to the Department upon request a street map in hard copy format and access to an interactive electronic street map that display the locations where the digital records were recorded with a date and time provided by GPS or cellular date and time;

vii. the Contractor must provide to the Department upon request, and to any other party according to an appropriate order or subpoena, such software as may be necessary to display the electronic records in an MS Excel spreadsheet, 2003 version or later, with the following fields and in the following data formats:

viii. Plaintiff or petitioner, which must be specified by the last name of the first plaintiff, or, if not a natural person, the name of the entity, except that the field may contain the name of every plaintiff or petitioner in the case, provided that the entire record is searchable by a wildcard search of the name of any plaintiff or petitioner;

ix. Defendant or respondent, which must be specified by the last name of the first defendant, or, if not a natural person, the name of the entity, except that the field may contain the name of every defendant or respondent in the case, provided that the entire record is searchable by a wildcard search of the name of any defendant or respondent;

x. the full docket number, which must be entered with all information necessary to identify the case, such as XXXXXX/XX, unless the case is a Civil Local matter, in which case, it will include the prefix of CV, CC, LT, MI, NC, RE, SC, or TS;

xi. the date that service was effected or attempted according to the device, which must be entered as MM/DD/YYYY;

xii. the time that service was effected or attempted according to the device, which must be entered in military time;

xiii. the date that service was effected or attempted according to GPS or cellular signals, which must be entered as MM/DD/YYYY;

xiv. the time that service was effected or attempted according to GPS or cellular signals, which must be entered as military time;

xv. the address where service was effected or attempted, which must consist of four fields in the following order: building number, street name, city; and zip code, which must be five digits. All address information must be CASS (Coding Accuracy Support System) processed to insure its accuracy with software graded to be CASS Certified by the National Customer Support Center of the United States Postal Service;

xvi. the name of the intended recipient of the process, which must be entered in two data fields such that the first data field is the last name of the intended recipient, or, if not a natural person, the name of the entity, and the second data field is the first name of the intended recipient if a natural person.

xvii. the name of the person to whom process was delivered, which must be entered in two data fields such that the first data field is the last name of the person, and the second data field is the first name of the person.

(b) Provision of Equipment and Services by Process Serving Agency.

A process serving agency licensed according to this subchapter may provide to licensed process servers the device and services required by subparagraph (a) according to a contract with an independent third party. For purposes of this Rule, a third party will not be considered independent if any officer or owner of ten percent or more of the shares of the licensed process serving agency has any interest, direct or indirect, in the third party.

(c) Report to Department.

(1) Within sixty days after the effective date of this Rule a licensed process server must submit to the Department in a form approved the Commissioner a certification that he or she has secured the contract required by this Rule and identifying the name, address and account number of the Contractor(s) providing the required device and services. After sixty days after the effective date of this Rule, no process server license will be issued or renewed unless the applicant submits such a certificate.

(2) A licensed process server must submit to the Department an amended certification within two days of entering into a contract with a different Contractor.

(3) In place of submitting the certificates required by the preceding provisions, the licensed process server may submit a certification in a form approved by the Commissioner affirmed by an owner or officer of a licensed process serving agency that the device and services the process server is required to obtain are provided by the agency under a contract with an independent third party.

(d) Compliance with all laws. Compliance with the requirements of this Rule does not relieve a licensed process server of the obligation to make or maintain records required by any other federal, state, or local law, rule or regulation.

§2-234 Duty to Comply with Law.

The licensee shall at all times strictly and promptly conform to all laws, rules, regulations and requirements of the federal, state and municipal authorities relating to the conduct of licensees and the service of process in the State of New York and the preparation, notarization and filing of affidavits of service and other documents now in force or hereafter adopted during any license period.

§2-234a Duties of Process Serving Agencies.

(a) Assigment of Process to Individual Process Servers. A process serving agency shall not assign or distribute process for service to an individual process server who:

(1) is not licensed to serve process;

(2) has not complied with the requirements of Section 20-406.1 of the Administrative Code;

(3) does not display integrity and honesty in his or her process serving activities; and

(4) does not comply with the recordkeeping requirements applicable to the service of process in the City of New York, including maintaining an electronic record of service.

(b) Compliance Plan. A process serving agency shall develop and implement policies and procedures set forth in a written Compliance Plan to ensure that an individual process server acts with integrity and honesty and complies with the recordkeeping requirements applicable to process servers.

(1) The process serving agency shall take appropriate disciplinary action against an individual process server who fails to comply with the law, including, but not limited to, suspending or terminating its employment, agency or other relationship with the individual process server;

(2) The policies and procedures to review the individual process server’s compliance with recordkeeping requirements shall require the agency to:

(i) at least once each month, review for completeness and accuracy the records of each individual process server to whom it assigns or distributes process;

(ii) prepare a monthly written report of its review of the records maintained pursuant to section 2-233 of these Rules of each individual process server to whom it assigns or distributes process during that month;

(iii) maintain each monthly report for at least seven years;

(iv) maintain records of any disciplinary actions taken against the individual licensed process server;

(v) report to the Department in writing the name and license number of each individual licensed process server who does not comply with the law governing process servers within ten (10) days of learning of such non-compliance;

(vi) make available, upon request, to the Department a copy of its record review procedures, any written reports of the reviews it maintains, and copies of any referrals of individual process servers to the Department.

(c) Implementation Affirmation. A process serving agency in possession of a license issued by the Department on the effective date of this Rule shall submit an affirmation to the Department that it has adopted a written Compliance Plan within sixty (60) days of such effective date. After the effective day of this Rule, no license shall be issued or renewed until the process serving agency files with the Department an affirmation that it has adopted a Compliance Plan.

(d) Persons to Whom the Agency Assigns Service.

(1) A process serving agency must notify the Department in writing at the time of its application or renewal, or at such times as requested by the Department of:

(i) the names, addresses, and Department license numbers of each process server who serves process exclusively as an employee of the process serving agency; and

(ii) the names, addresses, and Department license numbers of each process server who serves process on behalf of the process serving agency.

(2) If additional process servers are assigned process by the process serving agency or a new process server is hired to serve process exclusively as an employee of the process serving agency after the date of such application or renewal, the licensee must notify the Department in writing within five (5) days of the new assignment or employee with the names, addresses and Department license numbers of such additional process servers.

(3) If a process server ceases to serve process exclusively as an employee of a process serving agency after the date of such application or renewal, the process serving agency must notify the Department in writing within five (5) days that the process server ceases to serve process exclusively as an employee with the name, address and Department license number of such process server.

(4) The process serving agency must advise the Department of any process server who is misrepresenting his or her license status or his or her compliance with the requirements of Section 20-406.1 of the Administrative Code.

§2-234b Duty of Process Servers to Report Agencies That Assign Service.

(a) A process server must report the name and license number of the process serving agency for whom he or she serves process exclusively as an employee when applying for a license or renewal thereof.

(b) A process server must report to the Department in writing when he or she ceases to exclusively serve process as an employee of a process serving agency within five (5) days that he or she ceases such employment. The process server must include the name and license number of any other process serving agency that he serves process exclusively as an employee.

(c) When applying for a license or renewal thereof, a process server shall report the name and license number of every process serving agency which he or she has reason to believe assigns process for service to the applicant.

(d) A process server applying for a renewal of a licensee shall report the name and license number of every process serving agency from which it has accepted assignment of service of process within the previous two years.

(e) A process server shall keep a list of the name and address of each process serving agency that assigns service to the process server. The process server shall maintain the list for seven years and produce it upon request by the Department.

§2-235 Preparation of Affidavits of Service.

No licensee shall sign or notarize or cause to be signed or notarized an affidavit of service until all factual averments have been set forth. The licensee shall include his/her license number on all affidavits of service signed by him/her. The licensee shall maintain a copy of every affidavit of service for at least seven years in electronic form or as a paper copy.

§2-236 Duty to Report Hearings Contesting Service.

(a) Whenever a process server or process serving agency receives any type of notice, including an oral communication, that a court has scheduled a hearing to determine whether service of process made or assigned by such licensee was effective, the licensee shall submit a report to the Department (attention of Counsel’s Office), in writing, by certified mail, or by e-mail to an address designated by the Department, within ten days of receiving such notice. Such written report shall include:

(1) the title and index number of the action;

(2) the court and the judge before whom the hearing is scheduled;

(3) the date(s) of the hearing;

(4) the name and license number of every licensee who effected service or assigned or distributed the process for service; and

(5) copies of all records, including but not limited to, routing sheets, the pages of the licensee’s log book for each day on which service of the process in issue was attempted or effected, and all affidavits of service, pertaining to the contested service.

(b) The licensee shall have an affirmative obligation to learn and report to the Department the result of the hearing, including any judicial order or voluntary settlement resolving the challenge to service of process, within ten days of the issuance of a decision on or settlement of the challenge.

§2-237 Wearing of Insignia Prohibited.

No licensee while serving process shall wear or display any badge, insignia, shield, medal, decoration or facsimile thereof.

§2-238 Use of Zip Codes.

All process mailed pursuant to the requirements of CPLR §308(4) or RPAPL §735(1) shall include on the envelope as part of the address the proper zip code of the person served.


SUBCHAPTER 23

PROCESS SERVERS

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§ 20-403 License required. a. Process server license. It shall be unlawful for any person to do business as, be employed as or perform the services of a process server without a license therefor.

b. Process serving agency license. It shall be unlawful for any process serving agency to assign or distribute process to individual process servers for actual service in the city of New York without a license therefore.

§ 20-404 Definition. a. A process server is a person engaged in the business of serving or one who purports to serve or one who serves personally or by substituted service upon any person, corporation, governmental or political subdivision or agency, a summons, subpoena, notice, citation or other process, directing an appearance or response to a legal action, legal proceeding or administrative proceedings.

b. A process serving agency is any person, firm, partnership, association or corporation, other than an attorney or law firm located in this state, or city marshal, who maintains an office, bureau or agency, the purpose of which is to assign or distribute process to individual process servers for actual service in the city of New York.

c. For the purposes of this subchapter the service of five or more process in any one year shall be deemed to constitute doing business as a process server.

§ 20-405 Exceptions. a. The provisions of this subchapter shall not apply to any employee of any city, state or federal department or agency, who is acting within the scope of his or her employment.

b. The provisions of this subchapter shall not apply to attorneys duly admitted to practice law in the state of New York.

§ 20-406 Application; fingerprinting. a. An application for such a license or renewal thereof shall be made to the commissioner on a form prescribed by him or her.

b. The commissioner shall require that applicants for licenses issued pursuant to this subchapter be fingerprinted for the purpose of securing criminal history records from the state division of criminal justice services. The applicant shall pay a processing fee as required by the state division of criminal justice services. Fingerprints shall be taken of the individual owner if the applicant is a sole proprietorship; the general partners if the applicant is a partnership; and the officers, principals, directors, and stockholders owning more than ten percent of the outstanding stock of the corporation if the applicant is a corporation. Any person required to be fingerprinted hereunder shall furnish to the department three current passport-sized photographs of such person. Notwithstanding the foregoing, the commissioner need not require applicants for licenses required under this subchapter to be fingerprinted if criminal history records concerning such applicants are not available from the state division of criminal justice services.

c. Each such applicant for a process server license or renewal thereof shall be required to pass an examination satisfactorily. Such examination shall be under the supervision of the commissioner and shall test the knowledge of the applicant concerning proper service of process within the city of New York and familiarity with relevant laws and rules.

20-406.1 Bond required. a. As a condition of the issuance of a process server license, each applicant for such license or a renewal thereof shall furnish to the commissioner a surety bond executed by the applicant in the sum of ten thousand dollars, payable to the city of New York, and a surety approved by the commissioner. Such bond shall be conditioned upon the applicant’s compliance with the provisions of this subchapter and any rules promulgated thereunder, and upon the further condition that the applicant will pay (i) to the city any fine, penalty or other obligation the city imposes relating to a violation of this subchapter and any rules promulgated thereunder, and (ii) to a plaintiff any final judgment recovered in an action arising out of the violation of any of the provisions of this subchapter within thirty days of its imposition. If an applicant is unable to obtain a surety bond as required by this section, and upon the provision of proof satisfactory to the commissioner of such inability, the individual applicant may, in lieu of furnishing such bond, deposit an amount of no less than one thousand dollars in a fund to be established by the commissioner to pay (i) to the city any fine, penalty or other obligation the city imposes relating to a violation of this subchapter and any rules promulgated thereunder, and (ii) to a plaintiff any final judgment recovered in an action arising out of the violation of any of the provisions of this subchapter within thirty days of its imposition.

b. A process server licensed under this subchapter who engages in the business of serving process exclusively as an employee of a process serving agency licensed under this subchapter shall not be required to furnish a surety bond.

c. As a condition of the issuance of a process serving agency license, each applicant for such license or a renewal thereof shall furnish to the commissioner a surety bond in the sum of one hundred thousand dollars executed by the applicant payable to the city of New York, and a surety approved by the commissioner. Such bond shall be conditioned upon the applicant’s compliance with the provisions of this subchapter and any rules promulgated thereunder, and upon the further condition that the applicant will pay (i) to the city any fine, penalty or other obligation the city imposes relating to a violation of this subchapter and any rules promulgated thereunder, and (ii) to a plaintiff any final judgment recovered in an action arising out of the violation of any of the provisions of this subchapter within thirty days of its imposition.

§ 20-406.2 Responsibilities of process serving agencies. Every process serving agency licensed under this subchapter shall:

a. Comply with all applicable state and federal laws;

b. Be legally responsible for any failure to act in accordance with the laws and rules governing service of process by each process server to whom it has distributed, assigned or delivered process for service;

c. Provide to each process server employed by such agency a written statement indicating the rights of such employee and the obligations of the process serving agency under city, state and federal law. Such statement of rights and obligations shall include, but not be limited to, a general description of employee rights and employer obligations pursuant to laws regarding minimum wage, overtime and hours of work, record keeping, social security payments, unemployment insurance coverage, disability insurance coverage and workers’ compensation;

d. Keep on file in its principal place of business for a period of three (3) years a statement for each employee, signed by such employee, indicating that the employee read and understood the statement of rights and obligations such employee received pursuant to subdivision (c) of this section.

§ 20-406.3 Records, Audits. a. Every process server and process serving agency licensed under this subchapter shall retain records in compliance with section 89-cc of the New York state general business law for no less than seven (7) years of each process served. Such records shall be retained in electronic form. Tampering with any such electronic records shall be prohibited.

b. A process server licensed under this subchapter who engages in the business of serving process exclusively as an employee of a process serving agency licensed under this subchapter shall not be subject to the provisions of subdivision (a) of this section, but shall be required to comply with all other applicable laws.

c. The commissioner may conduct audits of the information required to be kept pursuant to subdivision (a) of this section in order to monitor compliance with this subchapter.

§ 20-406.4 Educational materials. The commissioner shall develop educational materials to be provided to all process servers and process serving agencies licensed under this subchapter. Such materials shall at a minimum identify the laws and regulations pertaining to services of process in the city of New York.

§ 20-407 Fee; term. The biennial license fee to be paid by such persons shall be three hundred forty dollars.

§ 20-408 Rules and regulations. The commissioner may make and promulgate such rules and regulations as he or she may deem necessary for the proper implementation and enforcement of this subchapter.

§ 20-409 Issuance, renewal, suspension and revocation of a license. a. A license issued hereunder may be suspended or revoked or its renewal denied by the commissioner at any time for the failure of the licensee to comply with any rule, regulation or order promulgated by the commissioner.

b. In addition to any of the powers that may be exercised by the commissioner pursuant to this subchapter and chapter one of this title, the commissioner, after notice and an opportunity to be heard, may refuse to issue or renew, or may suspend or revoke, a license required under this subchapter if the applicant or licensee, or any of its principals, officers or directors, or any of its stockholders owning more than ten percent of the outstanding stock of the corporation has been convicted of a crime which, in the judgment of the commissioner, has a direct relationship to such person’s fitness or ability to perform any of the activities for which a license is required under this subchapter or has been convicted of any other crime which, in accordance with article twenty-three-a of the correction law, would provide a justification for the commissioner to refuse to issue or renew, or to suspend or revoke, such license.

c. Upon application for renewal of a license issued pursuant to this subchapter, applicant subject to subdivision (a) of section 20-406.3 of this subchapter shall certify in writing compliance with the record keeping provisions of such section.

§ 20-409.1 Violations and penalties. Any person who, after notice and hearing shall be found guilty of violating any provision of this subchapter, shall be punished in accordance with the provisions of chapter one of this title and shall be subject to a penalty of not less than seven hundred dollars nor more than one thousand dollars for each violation.

§ 20-409.2 Civil Cause of Action. Any person injured by the failure of a process server to act in accordance with the laws and rules governing service of process in New York state, including this subchapter and regulations promulgated thereunder, shall have a cause of action against such process server and process serving agency, which distributed or assigned process for service, in any court of competent jurisdiction for any or all of the following relief:

a. compensatory and punitive damages, provided that punitive damages shall only be awarded in the case of willful failure to serve process;

b. injunctive and declaratory relief;

c. attorneys’ fees and costs; and

d. such other relief as a court may deem appropriate.

§ 20-409.3 Reporting. Twenty-four months after the local law that added this section becomes effective, the commissioner shall submit a report to the speaker of the council regarding the effectiveness of these provisions on effectuating proper service and improving oversight over the process service industry. Such report shall include, among other things, the results of audits the commissioner has completed of process servers and process serving agencies, including information regarding their compliance with the provisions of this subchapter.

* § 20-410 Electronic record of service. A process server licensed pursuant to this subchapter shall carry at all times during the commission of his or her licensed activities and operate at the time process is served or attempted an electronic device that uses a global positioning system, wi-fi device or other such technology as the Commissioner by rule shall prescribe to electronically establish and record the time, date, and location of service or attempted service. All records created by such electronic device shall be maintained in an electronic database by the process server, or if such process server is acting exclusively as an employee of a process service agency, by the process service agency, for seven (7) years from the date such record is created.

 

*This page is designed for general information only. The information presented on this page is subject to change.

 

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