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Sections 48.25-48.31 may be cited as the “Florida Certified Process Server Act.”
History - s. 2, ch. 88-135.
(1) The chief judge of each judicial circuit may establish an approved list of natural persons designated as certified process servers. The chief judge may periodically add to such list the names of those natural persons who have met the requirements for certification provided for in
s. 48.29. Each person whose name has been added to the approved list is subject to annual recertification and reappointment by the chief judge of a judicial circuit. The chief judge shall prescribe appropriate forms for application for inclusion on the list of certified process servers. A reasonable fee for the processing of any such application must be charged.
(a) The addition of a person’s name to the list authorizes him or her to serve initial nonenforceable civil process on a person found within the circuit where the process server is certified when a civil action has been filed against such person in the circuit court or in a county court in the state. Upon filing an action in circuit or county court, a person may select from the list for the circuit where the process is to be served one or more certified process servers to serve initial nonenforceable civil process.
(b) The addition of a person’s name to the list authorizes him or her to serve criminal witness subpoenas and criminal summonses on a person found within the circuit where the process server is certified. The state in any proceeding or investigation by a grand jury or any party in a criminal action, prosecution, or proceeding may select from the list for the circuit where the process is to be served one or more certified process servers to serve the subpoena or summons.
(3) Nothing herein shall be interpreted to exclude a sheriff or deputy or other person appointed by the sheriff pursuant to s. 48.021 from serving process or to exclude a person from appointment by individual motion and order to serve process in any civil action in accordance with Rule 1.070(b) of the Florida Rules of Civil Procedure.
History - s. 3, ch. 88-135; s. 5, ch. 97-96; s. 3, ch. 98-410; s. 3, ch. 2009-215.
(1) The circuit court administrator and the clerk of the court in each county in the circuit shall maintain the list of process servers approved by the chief judge of the circuit. Such list may, from time to time, be amended or modified to add or delete a person’s name in accordance with the provisions of this section or s. 48.31.
(2) A person seeking the addition of his or her name to the approved list in any circuit shall submit an application to the chief judge of the circuit or to the chief judge’s designee on a form prescribed by the court. A reasonable fee for processing the application may be charged.
(3) A person applying to become a certified process server shall:
(a) Be at least 18 years of age;
(b) Have no mental or legal disability;
(c) Be a permanent resident of the state;
(d) Submit to a background investigation, which shall include the right to obtain and review the criminal record of the applicant;
(e) Obtain and file with his or her application a certificate of good conduct, which specifies there is no pending criminal case against the applicant and that there is no record of any felony conviction, nor a record of a conviction of a misdemeanor involving moral turpitude or dishonesty, with respect to the applicant within the past 5 years;
(f) If prescribed by the chief judge of the circuit, submit to an examination testing his or her knowledge of the laws and rules regarding the service of process. The content of the examination and the passing grade thereon, and the frequency and location at which such examination shall be offered shall be prescribed by the chief judge of the circuit. The examination, if any, shall be offered at least once annually;
(g) Execute a bond in the amount of $5,000 with a surety company authorized to do business in this state for the benefit of any person wrongfully injured by any malfeasance, misfeasance, neglect of duty, or incompetence of the applicant, in connection with his or her duties as a process server. Such bond shall be renewable annually; and
(h) Take an oath of office that he or she will honestly, diligently, and faithfully exercise the duties of a certified process server.
(4) The chief judge of the circuit may, from time to time by administrative order, prescribe additional rules and requirements regarding the eligibility of a person to become a certified process server or to have his or her name maintained on the list of certified process servers.
(a) An applicant who completes the requirements set forth in this section and whose name the chief judge by order enters on the list of certified process servers shall be designated as a certified process server.
(b) Each certified process server shall be issued an identification card bearing his or her identification number, printed name, signature and photograph, the seal of the circuit court, and an expiration date. Each identification card shall be renewable annually upon proof of good standing and current bond.
(6) A certified process server shall place the information required in s. 48.031(5) on the first page of at least one of the processes served. Return of service shall be made by a certified process server on a form which has been reviewed and approved by the court.
(a) A person may qualify as a certified process server and have his or her name entered on the list in more than one circuit.
(b) A process server whose name is on a list of certified process servers in more than one circuit may serve process on a person found in any such circuits.
(c) A certified process server may serve foreign process in any circuit in which his or her name has been entered on the list of certified process servers for that circuit.
(8) A certified process server may charge a fee for his or her services.
History - s. 4, ch. 88-135; s. 284, ch. 95-147; s. 4, ch. 2004-273; s. 6, ch. 2011-159.
(1) A certified process server may be removed from the list of certified process servers for any malfeasance, misfeasance, neglect of duty, or incompetence, as provided by court rule.
(2) A certified process server must be disinterested in any process he or she serves; if the certified process server willfully and knowingly executes a false return of service, he or she is guilty of a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084, and shall be permanently barred from serving process in this state.
History - s. 5, ch. 88-135; s. 285, ch. 95-147.