Q: What is a Service of Process (SOP)?
A: They are legal documents related to proceedings that have been filed in a court of law or a state or federal legal department. SOPs are time-sensitive legal documents that usually require a response within a set amount of time. Common types of Service of Process documents would include Summons, Subpoenas, Complaints, and Orders.
Q: Who receives SOPs?
A: Companies and businesses typically have a Registered Agent to receive SOPs. If they do not, service must be made on the office of the company itself, to a designated employee. As courts require service to be receivable during normal business hours, having a designated employee handle SPOs in-house can sometimes cause complications when that employee takes vacation time, sick days, or is otherwise not in the office. For information on how a registered agent can help with your SOPs, click here.
Q: How do I reply to a SOP?
A: The SOP will contain information that directs you to the proper person or entity to which you need to reply. It will also give you the amount of time allowed for your reply to be filed. Fail to reply to service within the given time usually imposes legal penalties or default on the entity being served.
Q: Is an SOP only used to notify me that a lawsuit has been filed against my company?
A: No. A Service of Process notifies you of any legal correspondence pertaining to your company. That means in addition to alerting you about new cases filed, an SOP will also be sent with follow-up information regarding an existing case or to let you know the outcome of an existing case. Service can also include information your company has as a third-party to a case.
Q: Is a SOP always a “bad” thing?
A: No. Again, SOPs can also notify you of the outcome of an existing case, request additional documents, or provide updates on existing cases.
Q: Do SOPs always come from a court?
A: No. SOPs can also come from district courts, arbitration courts, and state or county Departments of Revenue. SOPs may also come from entities overseeing wage garnishments, child welfare, or other similar departments.