What is a Waiver of Service

A "waiver of service" (sometimes referred to as a "waiver of process" or "waiver of summons") is a legal document used in civil litigation. When someone files a lawsuit, the defendant (the person being sued) usually needs to be formally served with the lawsuit paperwork, often including a summons and complaint. This formal process ensures that the defendant is aware of the legal action against them.

However, in many cases, especially when the parties are in communication or represented by attorneys, the formal service of process might be an unnecessary step. A waiver of service is a document that the defendant signs, indicating that they are aware of the lawsuit and are waiving their right to be formally served with the documents.

Here are a few points about the waiver of service:

  1. Voluntary: The defendant is not required to sign a waiver of service. It's a voluntary action.
  2. Time to Respond: Signing a waiver of service often gives the defendant more time to file a response to the lawsuit than if they had been formally served.
  3. Cost-Effective: By signing a waiver of service, the parties can save on the costs associated with formal service of process.
  4. Good Faith: The plaintiff (the person initiating the lawsuit) usually sends a request to the defendant asking them to sign the waiver. It's considered good practice to allow a reasonable amount of time for the defendant to consider the request.
  5. Jurisdiction: Signing a waiver of service does not affect a defendant's ability to contest the court's jurisdiction over them or the subject matter of the lawsuit.
  6. Consequences for Refusing: If a defendant refuses to sign the waiver without a good reason and the plaintiff then serves the defendant formally, the court may order the defendant to pay the costs of service.

It's crucial for parties to understand the implications of signing a waiver of service fully. If someone is asked to sign such a document, they should consider consulting with an attorney to ensure they understand their rights and the potential consequences.