Jonas Williams: If you are a process server, you damn well better not lie on your service affidavit

This is, in the grand scheme of things, not a very important case. However, to a lot of people, it might be.

There was a process server operating in San Diego by the name of Jonas Williams. Instead of actually serving the people he was asked to, he just signed the affidavits of service as if he did. I was not his first victim, but by golly I’m pretty sure that I’m his last.

My wife and I filed an abuse of process claim against the guy, and prevailed. It was a default, but he’s known about the case and just chose not to defend it. And, we had cell phone records showing that I was 20 miles from where he allegedly served me. I have heard from a number of people who had similar problems with this guy. (Including this poor soul, who the court did not believe) If you’ve been the victim of this kind of behavior, please feel free to rip off the complaint in this case and administer corrective disincentives to any process server that does this to you, but especially if it’s this Williams character.

If you’re thinking of hiring him as your process server (or for any other position requiring trust) – consider the potential ramifications of doing so.

Randazza v. Jonas Williams Complaint

Randazza v. Jonas Williams Judgment Papers

The best part of the news, it is not as if it is an uncollectable judgment. Process servers must carry surety bonds. I just cashed in Mr. Williams’ bond for a portion of the judgment.

If this has happened to you, don’t think that you’ll get nothing more than a worthless piece of paper.

12 Responses to Jonas Williams: If you are a process server, you damn well better not lie on your service affidavit

  1. dan says:

    its been a year since the judgement. did he ever end up paying the 37k$ (or is that a stupid question)?

  2. CPlatt says:

    Here in Arizona, an enterprising attorney obtained a ruling from a judge confirming that any photo-radar traffic ticket is invalid unless the owner of the vehicle is served personally. The state tried to get around the ruling by mailing out traffic tickets with a cover letter that said, basically, “You have three options: Pay your fine by mail, go to traffic school, or go to court.” It didn’t mention that there was a fourth option: Do nothing, and avoid being served for two months, after which the traffic ticket is dismissed automatically.

    Naturally, people quickly learned about option four via the web. Process servers experienced a big increase in business, but at the same time, they were under some pressure to deliver. I saw quite a few comments online from people complaining that they were not properly served, causing them to be found guilty by default, with automatic suspension of license. During that period (which ended when photo radar was removed from Arizona state and interstate highways) I suspect that some process servers cut corners on a fairly frequent basis. I have always wondered how prevalent this behavior is, outside of the low-level area of traffic tickets.

  3. Vicky says:

    Thank you! This was done to my elderly mother in Brevard County, FL. I wrote the court a letter about it, but the rogue judge still entered a default judgment in favor of Capital One against my mother. I still have this process server’s information. My mother had a stroke and most definitely did not accept any papers or answer the door, but this process server was so angry when no one answered the door that she actually threw the papers in the hallway. A neighbor got her tag#.

  4. Ronald Pottol says:

    For the bulk stuff, like consumer debt lawsuits, I expect some level of stuff happens all the time, the best you can hope for is they sub serve it on the first attempt. I worked as one 25 years ago, and that’s what plenty of the people I worked with did. I was weird, and tried to do it right. How much total faking? I never saw any, but I wouldn’t be all that surprised.

  5. AlphaCentauri says:

    So, if the defendant doesn’t default, how would I go about proving that the process server didn’t serve me anything? If it’s my word against his that something never happened, why would the court rule in my favor?

    • I had cell phone records showing I was 20 miles from where he said he served me.

      • AlphaCentauri says:

        Lol, Big Brother — it’s an ill wind that blows nobody good ;)

      • andrews says:

        ) [phone records showing 20 miles away]
        Not sure that would matter in Florida. I had a case where the recipient of the substitute service was there to testify that the person intended to be served did not live there, but someone else with a similar name did. Service was still not quashed.

        Problem is, in part, that the court presumes service is good if the return of service looks regular. And they often will not compare the return of service to the statutory and rule requirements.

  6. Windypundit says:

    It seems to me that that sort of thing should be easy to find with a little data mining: In the absence of fraud, you’d expect all process servers to experience roughly the same default rate. Could an enterprising lawyer pull records of defaults from somewhere and look for process servers who “served” an unusually large number of them and then contact the defaulting individuals to see if they can prove their whereabouts for a lawsuit?

    • Walt_K says:

      I think this would be a lot more difficult than you imagine. First, I would not expect all process servers to have the same default rate. I would expect that there are some process servers that serve different industries to varying degrees. A process server that gets a lot of business for serving actions on behalf of collection companies is probably going to have a higher than average number of defaults. So you’d need to somehow control for that, which would be difficult to do.

      Plus, I don’t think a lot of state court systems are set up so that you can easily run a query for defaults and then see who the process server was. Even in the federal system where most courts are set up for electronic filing, I don’t think there is any way to do that. You’re talking about a pretty intensive review to mine the data before you can start trying to crunch the numbers.

  7. mamamara says:

    This happened to my husband in Los Angeles. The judge in the case questioned the process server about who he gave the paper to and the server described a white-haired man in his 50s or 60s. Then my 25-year-old black-haired husband stood up. The judge was pissed, but I don’t recall what happened next.

    We found the papers a few weeks later crumpled up in the bushes near the house.

  8. Tim says:

    On the other side of the coin, I have had complaints about “rude”, but never “he didn’t serve me”! Part of the problem is, the guy on TV makes it out like we have to chase folks down, hammer out the truth, then go “tap tap, you are served”!

    ID, the defendant, make him aware what you have, make the papers available to him…….three elements, tried and true!

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