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Calling All Attorneys--sheriff to serve a civil summons to elderly family member in nursing home

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dianne

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I posted in another thread and got no responses so thought I would try Hangout.

Elderly family member got sick and, once admitted into nursing home, she lost absolutely everything. Now, her son is being called by the local sheriff stating he has a Civil Summons to be served on her. Son did not disclose her location in the nursing home but did say she was living in one. He does not want his mother subjected to this legal situation as there is absolutely nothing she can do. She lives in North Carolina. Is there some reprieve from her being subjected to this?

Thanks in advance to anyone who is willing to share helpful information.
 
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the_mother_thing

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@dianne This is really unfortunate; I’m sorry the family is having to deal with this.

Might the son have a power of attorney, or perhaps did the mother grant a POA to someone who might receive the summons on her behalf? Perhaps she can get one drawn up quickly to allow her son to receive such documents on her behalf? I’m not sure but was just a thought.

Good luck!

ETA: I’m not an attorney; just wanted to clarify that.
 
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OoohShiny

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I am no legal expert, especially not in US law, so these questions are probably really dumb...

... but what is a Civil Summons? Is someone trying to sue her?

Whatever it is, if it is Civil (rather than Criminal) then why are the Police involved??

I would have thought that the Police could find out her address pretty easily, but whether they'd be allowed to enter the building and serve notice on her might well depend on the security arrangements in place there, I imagine??


Like I say, dumb questions and no real help... (apologies!).

Hope you can get things sorted.
 

mary poppins

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Sorry to hear your family is in this situation.

See pages 3-4 in this link which is N.C Rule of Civil Procedure 4(j) Process – Manner of service to exercise personal jurisdiction. Copied and pasted below. ** but it's much easier to read via link due to formatting.
https://www.ncleg.net/EnactedLegislation/Statutes/PDF/ByChapter/Chapter_1A.pdf

(j) Process – Manner of service to exercise personal jurisdiction. – In any action commenced in a court of this State having jurisdiction of the subject matter and grounds for personal jurisdiction as provided in G.S. 1-75.4, the manner of service of process within or without the State shall be as follows: NC General Statutes - Chapter 1A 4 (1) Natural Person. – Except as provided in subdivision (2) below, upon a natural person by one of the following: a. By delivering a copy of the summons and of the complaint to the natural person or by leaving copies thereof at the defendant's dwelling house or usual place of abode with some person of suitable age and discretion then residing therein. b. By delivering a copy of the summons and of the complaint to an agent authorized by appointment or by law to be served or to accept service of process or by serving process upon such agent or the party in a manner specified by any statute. c. By mailing a copy of the summons and of the complaint, registered or certified mail, return receipt requested, addressed to the party to be served, and delivering to the addressee. d. By depositing with a designated delivery service authorized pursuant to 26 U.S.C. § 7502(f)(2) a copy of the summons and complaint, addressed to the party to be served, delivering to the addressee, and obtaining a delivery receipt. As used in this sub-subdivision, "delivery receipt" includes an electronic or facsimile receipt. e. By mailing a copy of the summons and of the complaint by signature confirmation as provided by the United States Postal Service, addressed to the party to be served, and delivering to the addressee. (2) Natural Person under Disability. – Upon a natural person under disability by serving process in any manner prescribed in this section (j) for service upon a natural person and, in addition, where required by paragraph a or b below, upon a person therein designated. a. Where the person under disability is a minor, process shall be served separately in any manner prescribed for service upon a natural person upon a parent or guardian having custody of the child, or if there be none, upon any other person having the care and control of the child. If there is no parent, guardian, or other person having care and control of the child when service is made upon the child, then service of process must also be made upon a guardian ad litem who has been appointed pursuant to Rule 17. b. If the plaintiff actually knows that a person under disability is under guardianship of any kind, process shall be served separately upon his guardian in any manner applicable and appropriate under this section (j). If the plaintiff does not actually know that a guardian has been appointed when service is made upon a person known to him to be incompetent to have charge of his affairs, then service of process must be made upon a guardian ad litem who has been appointed pursuant to Rule 17.
 

OoohShiny

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a. By delivering a copy of the summons and of the complaint to the natural person or by leaving copies thereof at the defendant's dwelling house or usual place of abode with some person of suitable age and discretion then residing therein.
This sounds like they could leave a copy of the summons with the Manager of the care home rather than delivering it directly to the person in question??

c. By mailing a copy of the summons and of the complaint, registered or certified mail, return receipt requested, addressed to the party to be served, and delivering to the addressee.

d. By depositing with a designated delivery service authorized pursuant to 26 U.S.C. § 7502(f)(2) a copy of the summons and complaint, addressed to the party to be served, delivering to the addressee, and obtaining a delivery receipt. As used in this sub-subdivision, "delivery receipt" includes an electronic or facsimile receipt.

e. By mailing a copy of the summons and of the complaint by signature confirmation as provided by the United States Postal Service, addressed to the party to be served, and delivering to the addressee.
My reading of these three things is that the person in question should reject and refuse all unexpected mail that is being delivered to them and requires a signature!!
 

diamondseeker2006

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He or some trustworthy relative should have power of attorney to deal with any financial or other issues. That way she won't have to deal with it. A civil suit sounds like she may owe money to someone, so I hope someone responsible is handling her money.
 

marymm

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I do not see a way around service of a summons.

If the son had POA he could have service upon him instead of his mom. It does not sound like he has a POA.

If the mother has no funds and no assets, then she is "judgment proof" and unless mother has a spouse who may be financially on the hook (in which case son may defer to mom's spouse), perhaps the Sheriff would be amenable to making a service appointment to ensure son can be by his mother's side when she is served.
 
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