Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Bill to target process servers

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In Mississippi, not much is required to be a process server, and some lawmakers believe that needs to change.

Rep. Hank Zuber, R-Ocean Springs, says he'll file a bill in the 2011 Legislature that would require licensing and educational training for process servers. Zuber believes the proposal, which died in the past, will have a chance next session because of the recent scrutiny given process servers handling child support cases for the Mississippi Department of Human Services.

Earlier this year, judges in Hinds and Jackson counties were reviewing hundreds of child support cases to determine whether some process servers had lied about delivering subpoenas.

The process servers worked for subcontractors of YoungWilliams Child Support Division, a Jackson-based company that received a $23 million contract to file about 15,000 cases, manage another 13,000 and operate a call center. Company President Rob Wells has said about 30 of those cases are being reopened because they involved a process server facing the allegations.

Zuber said there have been other instances of process servers failing to properly perform their jobs and it's caused hardships for average citizens. Zuber said the case of Natalie Parker of Ocean Springs is the reason he first filed the bill in 2008.

Parker's driver's license was revoked in 2003 and, because of that, she missed out on job opportunities. She eventually wound up living in her car. Zuber said Parker had told him about how a process server had lied about delivering papers to notify Parker about a lawsuit that had been filed against her.

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