Author: Dustin Taber from Falcon Investigations
Disclaimer: The following is not intended as any form of legal advice. The thoughts and opinions expressed are merely that of the author. The author is not an attorney and does not represent himself as one. If you require legal assistance of any kind, please seek the advice of a properly licensed attorney at law.
An extremely important part of nearly any litigatory matter involves the completion of effective process service. Simply put, this is a formal process where a person authorized by an issuing body, delivers court related documents to an individual or business; A legal mailman of sorts. The delivered documents can include but are certainly not limited to Summons, Subpoenas, and Temporary Restraining Orders. Most of us at some point in our lifetime, if not already, will likely be on the receiving end of this. Others will assuredly be on the issuing end. Service is typically made on matters such as divorce, custody issues, civil torts (wrong-doings), and evictions. Without proper service (lawful delivery to the necessary party), court proceedings can be greatly complicated and/or handicapped. Resulting consequences of improper service can range from date continuances to complete case dismissals. Sometimes parties in these lawsuits elect to represent themselves (Pro-Se) or hire legal counsel. Should legal counsel be sought, botched process service can and often has caused great harm to attorney-client relationships. Indeed, the choice of a skilled process server can wind up quite literally, making or breaking a court case.
So, why is process service so important? Before answering this, first allow me to ask you some further questions. If you were wrongfully accused of something that you didn’t do, would you not want the opportunity to defend yourself? What if your accuser is lying? Should a judge take an accuser’s word as fact without any sort of evidence? I should hope that you’re saying to yourself, “Absolutely not!”
In short, process service ensures that all parties have a voice. It ensures civil due process. If a party isn’t properly notified that they’re being taken to court, then how are they to defend themselves? They can’t. Unfortunately, not all service recipients understand or appreciate this. In an effort to prolong or avoid the legal conflict at hand, some individuals choose to dodge service. When this happens, process service converts from a simple act to a form of science.
In choosing who is to deliver such important documents, a choice will need to be made between utilizing a Sheriff’s Department or Special Process Server. Each has their own set of pros and cons. Just as in all other professions, there are good servers and bad servers from both sides. Generally speaking, however, there is one major difference between the two; A Sheriff’s department has no vested interest in seeing service through to completion. Special Process Servers on the other hand NEED to get the papers served. Their reputations and livelihoods depend on it. A good Process Server will go the extra mile to make their clients happy. This means true 24/7 ability and a willingness to stop what they’re doing and re-prioritize a daily agenda at a moment’s notice. While not conducive to maintaining much of a social life, it’s an absolute necessity. If a server isn’t willing to make some level of comparative personal sacrifice, then they are in the wrong business. As an officer of the court, a process server has an obligation to do their due diligence on each matter, regardless of client size or relative case significant.
Be forewarned, this next part is where I boast and try to convince you to hire me.
Since starting Falcon Investigations LLC in 2013, I’ve had the privilege of being entrusted with the service of thousands of documents from a vast array of clients. To date, I estimate my successful service rate to hover around 98%. This success stems from experience and determination. Every time, I go out to serve a paper, I treat the matter as its own independent investigation. It’s subsequently important to me that each one of these investigations gets its deserved attention and reaches some sort of favorable conclusion. The more challenging the matter, the more it calls to me. I truly love being told, “You won’t get this guy; He’s dodging. The Sheriff’s tried multiple times and couldn’t get him.” While I can’t say that I enjoy investing lots of time in any singular matter, I will absolutely do what it takes to get the job done and render my clients satisfied; even to the point of financial loss. While quite rare, there have been several matters where I’ve lost money with the amount of time spent attempting service. Contrary to many special process servers, I do not charge an hourly rate for Surveillance. I charge only a reasonable flat fee, regardless of time spent or number of visits made (when located in the St. Louis area). Fortunately, most people that I encounter accept service without incident. So many easy serves have a way of making up for the more complicated ones.
What does a complicated serve exactly consist of, you ask? I’m glad you did. The following example is taken from two past encounters that I’ve blended together into one for the sake of simplicity. Names and addresses, of course, have been changed.
Let’s take for example John Smith who is thought to currently reside at 123 Main Street in St. Louis, MO 63141. I’ve been hired to serve papers concerning a personal injury case to Mr. Smith. This was the address that he provided to the police six months ago at the scene of a vehicular accident. The police report also noted that he was operating a black Harley Sportster. Upon visiting the residence one extremely cold December evening, no lights are found to be on and the home’s exterior is free of any personal items. No vehicles are in the driveway and there is no indicator that the home’s heating unit is even turned on. All signs here would seem to point to a high probability that the residence has been vacated. Based on these findings, I go back to my office and conduct a Social Media search and an in-depth skip trace. For reference, Skip Tracing is essentially a process where known facts are put together to identify and link together previously unknown information on a subject. The goal, of course, is ultimately to get a good address on the subject.
Despite looking at a seemingly endless number of John Smith’s in the St. Louis area on Facebook, I’m unable to find a match that I feel comfortable is the right one. Since “John Smith” is such a common name, I’m essentially forced into doing a detailed skip trace. This skip trace is then done on a special industry database that has up to date and accurate information. The information in the database is compiled from numerous public and private sources.
The skip trace winds up producing some positive results. Several addresses, phone numbers, court records, and associates are listed in 12+ pages of miscellaneous information. Unfortunately, none of the addresses that populated are new. His most recent one still shows as being 123 Main Street.
Found civil court records indicate that Mr. Smith had been evicted from 123 Main Street four months ago. After looking up the docket history on the case, I discover that Mr. Smith failed to show up to court and received a default judgment against him in the amount of $1500. Additionally, there was another party listed on the suit named Mary Herst-Jacobson. She is discovered to have lived with Mr. Smith at several other residences. I turn my attention towards her and perform another skip trace.
Records indicate that Mary Herst-Jacobson had recently moved to 1313 Mockingbird Lane in St. Louis, MO 63123. The timestamp indicates that she started using this address around three months ago. Next, a Social Media search for Mary Herst-Jacobson is run and turns up only one match on Facebook. Unfortunately, this account is found to have very high privacy settings and I’m only able to see a profile photo. The photo is of a middle-aged Caucasian woman with distinctive green and purple hair. Clicking on her profile photo shows that it was “liked” by 33 people. Of those 33 people was one profile belonging to a “Jon-Jon WalkinTall’ Smith”. Upon clicking on this profile, I find that it has nearly no private settings whatsoever. His most recent photo was posted only three days ago. In the photo is a man posing on a black Harley Sportster parked in the driveway of a menacing two story Victorian House. Along with the photo is the caption, “home sweet home. Loving the new house.” Using Google Street View, I pull up the address for 1313 Mockingbird Lane. Sure enough, it appears to be the same house that “Jon-Jon WalkinTall’ Smith” was posing in front of just three days ago. Content that I have the correct guy, I leave my office to attempt service at the new address.
As I arrive at 1313 Mockingbird Lane, I see the same black Harley from the Facebook photo in front of the house. Additionally, the garage is open and the man from the profile photo is seated on a chair inside listening to music and drinking a beer. I approach him and say that I’m looking for John Smith. “Who are you?”, the man says to me. I then identify myself and he says, “I don’t know any John. You got the wrong address.” I advise him that I know who he is and have some paperwork to serve him. He refuses to comply and refuses to discuss the matter. After using a few choice words, he proceeds to close the garage door as I’m speaking. As he does this, I inform him that he’s been officially served and toss the paperwork at his feet. The garage door closes and I go back to my car. As I start my engine, a woman that I recognize as Mary Herst-Jacobson comes angrily running towards me. Holding her bathrobe closed with one hand and the paper held up in the other, it’s clear that she’s on a mission for vengeance. Not wanting to be on the receiving end of her vigilante-style justice, I quickly drive away. I hear shouting and I see only two middle fingers and a head of purple and green hair in my rear-view mirror. The whole thing is captured on my dash-cam. Along with my Affidavit of Service, I include detailed information and photos proving service.
As odd as some elements of the above story are, I assure you that they are all very true. Even typical. The weirdness and chaos that I encounter on a near daily basis is what makes my job so intriguing. Blended with this madness, however, is a strange degree of scientific application which I hold dear. There is a non-trivial amount of deductive and inductive reasoning that must often be employed. It’s not just handing papers to someone. The clear majority of process servers out there will disagree with many of my methods. Why? Because it’s just too much work for them. The ability, willingness, and determination of a process server can drastically alter the course of any legal situation. In choosing a skilled process server, it’s possible to steer that course in a favorable direction. If in a position where you need to hire one, it’s in your best interest to choose wisely.
Monday has a bad reputation. It is the beginning of a work week and depending on what you do and who you work for…Mondays might seem dreadful. There is statistically more complaining and whining on a Monday. There is even a large percentage of employees that are late on Mondays. Other studies have gone further to display that productivity is low on Monday compared to other days of the week. However, I am here to point out a few great aspects about Monday and offer some tips to make it the best day of the week!
Monday is the starting line:
This motto comes from the ever inspiring, Casey Neistat. He speaks about how Monday presents itself as a starting line to a race of what you can get done in one week. This is a great point of view because it is changing the inner dialogue of how you perceive the day. Look at it as a challenge! What can you get done this week? What things have you been putting off that you can work on? How can you work more efficiently? Take this as an intellectual challenge. Change your thoughts about Monday. Do work!
Monday is a great day to start a new habit:
Have you been putting off eating a healthy breakfast? Or, going on a morning run? Quitting smoking? What about just taking 10 minutes to meditate during your lunch break? Whatever good habit you have wanted to adapt into your life…start it on Monday! It will inspire a better day….and possibly (if you stick with it) your week too! Doing something for your self will help keep you motivated, inspired, and healthy.
Sunday Prep for Monday Success:
Weekends are a popular time to catch up on chores and shopping. You might already be prepping lunches or meal plans or you might not. Whatever your routine is….do one or two small things to enable Monday morning to be an easy transition to the work week ahead. Plan your outfit, prepare your lunch, fill your gas tank, or look over your schedule…anything to prepare for success!
These tips might seem obvious. The point is to be more conscious of how we perceive our work week and how just changing our perspective of Monday can start a trend of positive thinking which in return will increase productivity and happiness!
Cheers to Monday!
In the business world it is easy to overlook and not fully realize overused and standardized terms, such as the word goals. Goals help achieve success and fuel motivation. Yet, the hustle and bustle of working long hours combined with a long list of tasks and responsibilities can create a distraction from the bigger perspective. What exactly are you trying to achieve? If someone you admire in your industry came up to you today and asked, what are the goals you have for your business? Could you answer promptly?
GOALS: WHY YOU NEED THEM
Goals assist us by unveiling the obstacles in our way. Realizing your goal will bring forth the necessary actions to take to achieve success. This mindful act of setting an intention fuels motivation and results in efficient productivity. It is always easier said than done if your goal is not as apparent. Sometimes this can mean that your passion is gone or you have been overworked. If this is the case, take care of yourself, seek inspiration, and take action. In either scenario, take a moment and consider where you want your business to be in the short term and long term.
OBJECTIVES = ACTIONS
Objectives are often confused with goals. Goals are differentiated by understanding it as the end result, or the desired destination. While objectives are understood as the necessary actions to take to accomplish your goal. Actions that are founded out of intention are far more effective than actions that are on a whim. When taking time to view the bigger perspective, it becomes apparent what important steps to take to ensure success. Whether that means creating new policies, implementing new procedures, re-training employees, hiring additional crew, or simply putting forth more effort into effective communication, these actions will inch you closer to your goal.
Overall, goals and objectives are more than just standard terms. They are important opportunities to reflect in your personal or professional life. Allow yourself to step back and view the bigger perspective. What do you want for your business? Where do you want to be?
Creve Coeur Workspace is excited to introduce Richard C. Petrofsky as Tenant of the Month! He has been a tenant of ours since November of 2013.
Did you know that we offer more than the industry standard reception services? We have experienced and professional staff that is capable of assisting you with various administrative tasks to reduce your work load. Tasks that we can assist you with include:
Curating great content to engage an audience is time consuming. However, the importance of a social media presence in 2018 is paramount. The majority of web traffic is generated from a social media platform. Is your business taking advantage of this opportunity?
We are proud to offer this service as a resource for your business. We can collect payments from your clients for you! Contact us for more details about this service.
Our experienced and qualified staff are prepared to assist you with any administrative task, as needed. We have a standard hourly secretary rate that could be utilized for the times you find yourself in need of an extra hand. We can return phone calls, stuff envelopes, fax correspondence, mail packages, etc.
As you can see, whether you need assistance with graphic design, web design, advertising, or collecting payments, we are here to assist you!
The point of a shared work space or a virtual office is to promote growth within your business. How can we help?
Social Media Platforms are a popular and valuable marketing tool for many reasons. One in five web page views in the United States occurs on Facebook. Five new social media profiles are created every second. The average time spent using Facebook is in 20 minute increments. These few statistics imply that there is exponential opportunity for businesses to advertise and market. The trick is to find your target audience and engage them with what you can offer. Here are 5 awesome tips to enhance your social media presence:
1. Audience Insight. Who are you trying to reach? What are they into?
Visit https://www.facebook.com/ads/audience_insights for detailed information regarding the type of audience your business is seeking. This helpful Facebook business tool is especially effective when creating promotions and campaigns. It can narrow down your target audience by profession, gender, or within a certain mile radius. You can also explore what other business pages your target audience is interacting with. This is a useful tool to gain insight and knowledge of your potential customer base.
2. Posting Times. When are people more likely to interact with your page?
This can be a complex topic because the time frame of when social media platforms have the most traffic fluctuates. This is why I suggest every three months or so doing a simple google search on the current most popular times to post. However, the general rule is between 12:00pm – 3:00pm Monday thru Friday.
3. Interesting Content!
Confused on what to post for your industry? Look at what competitors with a successful following are doing! This can spark creativity if you are drawing a blank on what to post. Avoid posting only sales type of verbiage. Interact, ask questions, post interesting facts, or useful information about your profession. The more variety, the less stagnant. Take time to curate content and avoid posting quickly thrown together posts. Quality over quantity will convey that you are an established business with intent. And most of all, avoid posting spam like content, it will result in unfollows.
4. Choose a platform to dominate and limit it to 3.
What is better suited for your company? Instagram? Facebook? Twitter? LinkedIn? Limit it to 3! This is important because it goes along with the quality over quantity theme. Unless you have a dedicated marketing and advertising department, limiting your social media presence to 3 will allow you to have time to curate great content.
5. Great Photography will make a world of difference!
When a potential follower initially interacts with your page, the first thing to stand out no matter what condition your page is in are the photos. The photographs on your page will represent your company. If your photography is mediocre….one might perceive your company as “just another business.” Make your photography stand out and represent why you are a valuable business. Plus, there are plenty of great photo editing apps that are super user friendly on apple and android app stores!
While these tips are great, sometimes it is hard to add another task to your workload. Please remember, here at Creve Coeur Workspace we are able to assist you with various administrative tasks. These tasks can include curating content for you social media, or even posting for you. We want you to succeed and we will contribute in any way possible. We strive to adapt to your needs to enable success in your profession. Please contact us for more information!
We are very excited to have B's Heavenly Sweets and Eats come visit us! She will have fresh made juices available for purchase, and samples of her heavenly sweets! You won't want to miss this event!
You may be asking yourself, "What is a Virtual Office?" Not to worry, Creve Coeur Workspace is here to answer all your questions!
Virtual Offices can be a great tool for small business owners, corporations, start-ups, home-based businesses, and more. Many employers are choosing to use VO services, which can include receptionists, day offices, meeting rooms, and conference rooms to cut down on costs and not be bound by the physicality of an office space. Here are our best tips for finding and using your Virtual Office efficiently:
Decide what services will benefit you most. Do you need an address only? Phone number? Maybe you only need private office space here and there? Will your clients need to drop off paperwork or payments to your "office"? Call (or research online) a few executive office centers in town. Check pricing and ask for a tour. If private office time or conference rooms are on your list of "must-haves", you'll want to see what your client's first impression will be.
2. Get Signed Up
Choose your plan and sign up on your center's website or execute your Virtual Office lease in person. Complete necessary forms for mail acceptance and answering services if they're part of your plan. Inform "your" staff on exactly how to reach you if a surprise package comes in or if a client stops by for an unexpected visit. A good Virtual Office provider will know just how to handle situations like these.
Once you're up and running, make sure to stop by your post office or visit their website for a change of address form. Creve Coeur Workspace notifies our associates daily, once the mail has been sorted and is ready for pick up. Give us a call to check your mailbox. No more wasted time coming to check for nothing! Additionally, we have an outgoing USPS mail bin available for anyone to use. Certified USPS shipping, FedEx, and courier services are also available. If you relocate from our space, "Moving Out" packages are available for mail forwarding.
3. Phone Calls
Creve Coeur Workspace's receptionists can accept your phone calls, take messages (typically delivered via email), and direct your calls in any way you'd like. We even offer voicemail notification, so if we transfer a call to your voicemail, you will get an email notification with the voicemail recording attached. Running your business is a big responsibility- let us take some of work load off you! We also have phone forwarding options if you ever relocate and want to keep the same phone number you used with us.
4. Conference Rooms & Private Office Time
Make sure you give your Virtual Office center plenty of advance notice when a private office or meeting room is needed. Booking online, emailing, or calling the center are all options for you at Creve Coeur Workspace. Two of our Virtual Office options include private office time. Conference room time can be booked with a credit card number via our website or by calling or emailing the office. Witnessing and notarizing documents as well as catering, Smartboard rental, and video conferencing are just a few of the many add-ons we offer.
5. Copy/Scan/Fax & Office Supplies
When you get a Virtual Office with us you will be assigned a copier code, which means you will be able to make copies, scan, fax, and email documents with ease. Our receptionists will be happy to do this for you anytime you need it. If you're in a jam and need various office supplies we can probably get you covered.
6. Lobby Directory
You have the option to have your business listed on the main lobby directory for an additional fee. Help your customers find you with less confusion and attract new customers to your business by utilizing the directory.
7. Secretarial Services
We don't just make copies and send packages! Creve Coeur Workspace's receptionists are Jack-of-all-trades. We are available to witness or notarize documents anytime during business hours. We will take payments for you and write a receipt for your client with a copy for you to keep. We can create documents or spreadsheets, check your email/website, address letters, stuff envelopes, or any general keyboarding task you need. We even create websites! Our job is to make yours easier any way we can!
8. Get to Work!
Get out there and start working your business without worrying about phone calls, mail, and other administrative tasks! Reach out to us anytime regarding any of your business needs.
Quinlan Realty owner- Craig Carr
I have been in the real estate industry for 12+ years as a licensed agent, real estate investor and mortgage loan originator. I recently opened my own real estate brokerage Quinlan Realty on May 16th.
I am proud to be part of the ‘Agent with Heart Program’. When my clients close on their transaction, I donate a portion of my commission, on their behalf, to the charity or non-profit of their choice. It’s always exciting to hear my client’s stories on why they chose their charity. I am currently the only agent in St. Louis involved with the ‘Agent with Heart’ program but hoping to motivate other agents to participate.
We are thrilled to have Craig in our office!