September 22, 2014
Who to Serve

A copy of the claim must be delivered to each person or business being sued. This is called serving the defendant or defendants.

If you are suing an individual, serve the person you are suing. If you are suing more than one. individual, such as, for example, the registered owner and the driver of a car involved in an accident, serve each person you are suing.

If you are suing a single-owner business, serve the owner. If the business is a corporation, you may serve any Corporate Officer or Authorized Agent.

If you are suing a partnership under its business name, serve one of the partners. If you are suing a partnership under its business name and the partners individually as well, serve each partner. If you are suing a general partnership, serve the general partner, general manager or the agent for service, if there is one.

If you are suing a corporation, serve an officer, or the agent for service. To find out the names and addresses of the officers or the agent for service, write to the Secretary of State's office, Corporate Status Unit, 1500 11th Street, Sacramento, CA 95814. There is a $4.00 fee for this service. You can also get this information onliine at www.sos.ca.gov/business/be.

If you are suing the county, serve the Clerk of the Board. The San Mateo County Clerk is located in the Hall of Justice and Records, 400 County Center, Redwood City, 94063.

If you are suing the state, the State Attorney General's office (mailing address P. 0. Box 944255, Sacramento, CA 94244) accepts service for Cal Trans, California Highway Patrol, and most Consumer Affairs Boards and Bureaus. Call the Attorney General office at 1-800-952-5225 for more information.

If you are suing a business located in the County of San Mateo that is doing business under a fictitious name you may locate the owners names at: www.smcare.org/clerk/fictitious/

You then need to scroll down to my business and select: Fictitious Business Database

You may not sue the Federal government in small claims court.

If you are suing your landlord, and the manager of your apartment building rented the apartment to you and won't tell you where the landlord lives, you can serve the manager. To locate the name and addresses of the owners, you may go to the Property Tax Office. Give the address of the property to the Property Tax Office clerk and they will be able to give you this information.

The person who serves the defendant must file a Proof of Service form with the Small Claims Clerk before the trial. Otherwise, service is not considered complete and the trial will not proceed. If a process server serves the claim, the server will usually file the proof of service.

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