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New York City Process Servers Get Increased Protection Even as They May Be Replaced by Facebook

New York State beefed up protections for some private and public sector workers2New York State beefed up protections for some private and public sector workers. Assaults against them is now a Class D felony. An attack on a worker used to be a Class A misdemeanor.

The protections, signed Wednesday by Governor Andrew Cuomo, include utility workers, process servers, and workers who clean mass transportation stops and terminals. The new safeguards take effect November 1.

Class D felonies can bring up to seven years in the penitentiary. Class A misdemeanors mean a maximum of twelve months in jail.

Labor unions serving the employees support the increased penalties. James Slevin, President of Local 1-2 of the AFL-CIO, said, “Our workers face the identical risks every day that law enforcement and firefighters do. Whether it’s entering a drug den or facing an armed homeowner.”

Wild West of the Legal System

New York City’s worst process served pretended to be giving court summonses to debtors, but GPS reports show he was frequently miles from where he said he had been.

Robert Winckelmann, 41, forfeited his city-issued permit after a Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) investigation found he was not delivering papers to respondents.

In a November 2011 case, Winckelmann went to the Bronx and signed off on an affidavit that he delivered a summons on Fox Street to a woman claimed by creditors to owe over $6,000.

At the time, he was over three miles away at the Cross Bronx Expressway.

Later, the same day, Winckelmann claimed to serve more summonses in theBronx. Electronic records indicated he was again, miles away.

When a borrower isn’t served correctly, they don’t understand when to head to court. No notification could end in a default judgment.

“We are sending all proof of errors by him back to the judges,” Department of Consumer Affairs Commissioner Jonathan Mintz said.

Winckelmann collected 46 record violations as well as 35 counts of failure to keep reports. Winckelmann disputed any wrongdoing and imputed the abuses on “technical glitches” in the citywide GPS-system.

“They just stole his livelihood without a due process,” said his attorney Myra Sencer. “He is being treated unfairly.”

DCA reviewed 102 licensed process servers at random. Ten lost their licenses; three voluntarily gave them up, and 43 more joined settlement agreements. The DCA issued over $35,000 in fines.

“For too long process servers have been the Wild West of the legal system,” said Arkady Bukh, noted NYC criminal defense attorney.

Do It on Facebook

While process servers are currently an integral part of the legal system, things may be changing — rapidly.  In an increasing amount of instances, jurists are willing to “OK” the delivery of divorce papers on hard-to-locate ex’s through Facebook.

Today roughly 52-percent of the American people are current users of Facebook and spend over 40 minutes a day on the social network.

For many people, Facebook has turned into our home address, regardless of where they live. While the idea that acquaintances and relatives can contact us anywhere we are, there is an increasing approval in the legal area that a Facebook account could be seen as a legitimate location for serving divorce papers.

Ellanora Baidoo is one of the original spouses permitted to utilize Facebook for serving dissolution documents. In her 2015 case, Baidoo v. Blood-Dzraku, Baidoo told the courts she had been incapable of serving papers on her missing spouse. Despite efforts which included a private investigator, all Baidoo had were Blood-Dzraku’s cell number and his Facebook URL. As a last-gasp effort, she asked for the authority to serve the divorce papers by Facebook.

The judge allowed her and his ruling stated that: “the arrival and ascendancy of social media” made social sites like Facebook and Twitter the outskirts of forums where a summons can be presented.

If tracking down, a spouse has felt like looking for a needle in a haystack, the growing acceptance of Facebook for legal service could be equal to using a strong magnet to search the hay.

With over 1.6 billion users globally, there are people checking their Facebook messages daily.

© 2012 Leon Jacobson, Esq., all rights reserved
Bukh Law Firm P.C., 14 Wall St, New York NY 10005

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