Sewer service happens when the process server — the person charged with telling the defendant they have been sued — lies about serving it. The Minnesota Attorney General just sued TJ Process Service for exactly that. The owner of the company leaves little room for doubt. Here is his sworn testimony:
Q: [Y]ou believe 100 percent he [Umland] engaged in sewer service?
A: Yes. What percentage and how many times that was, I don’t know.
Umland, the individual process server who was responsible for the sewer service his boss apparently didn’t care about, used a variety of methods. Sometimes he made an effort, like swearing he had served the complaint even though the defendant was not home or did not live there.
In some cases, TJ Process Service and Umland provided creditors and debt buyers with affidavits falsely attesting that a lawsuit was served on an individual defendant by Umland. In some cases, Umland claimed that a lawsuit was served on a person at their home address, when the person was not home or did not reside at that address.
Sometimes, the company turned false affidavits into an assembly line:
TJ Process Service also had some of its process servers pre-sign blank pieces of paper and then fed the pre-signed papers through a printer to add details of the service. The company’s secretary then notarized the papers falsely swearing that she had witnessed the process server sign the affidavits under oath attesting to their contents.
Of particular interest is TJ Process Service’s testimonials page (go to the next page of this post for a screen grab), on which Messerli & Kramer paralegal Andrea M. Graham enthusiastically endorses the company:
We’ve used the services of TJ Process Service extensively and are impressed by their performance. Their capabilities and ability to serve papers on time, are the key reasons for our ongoing loyalty.
No wonder TJ Process Service was so timely. It didn’t bother to actually get the job done.
The Minnesota Attorney General’s seeks a court order to determine the scope of the problem and for a remedy for lawsuits where the summons and complaint were never properly served.