Question: I have a client who owes me money, but the only address I have for this person is a P.O. Box. How can I get a physical address to serve the lawsuit?
Answer: You actually have two options to get the lawsuit. If the matter is a small claims lawsuit, California law allows service by certified mail. The court clerk sends a copy of the claim to the defendant. The defendant must sign and return a receipt to the clerk. There is a fee for this type of service.
In cases where service by certified mail is not allowed (which is most cases) or the box holder will not sign for certified mail federal postal allows you to obtain the address information. Click here to download a copy of the required form from the website for the U.S. Postal Service. I recommend going to the post office where the box is located to peronally turn in the form. I also recommend bringing along a copy of subpoena, lawsuit or other legal process in case the postal clerks question you. Once you have the address information, you should be able to effect service on the defendant.
About the Author: Carl H. Starrett II has been a licensed attorney since 1993 and is a member in good standing with the California State Bar and the San Diego County Bar Association. Mr. Starrett practices in the areas of bankruptcy, business litigation, construction, corporate planning and debt collection.
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