Don’t Wait Until the Last Minute to File and Serve Your Complaint

Don’t Wait Until the Last Minute to File and Serve Your Complaint

In our recent CLE on “Avoiding Malpractice Claims When Filing and Serving a Complaint,” PLF Claims Attorney Amy Hoven and Hillary Taylor from Keating Jones Hughes PC discussed how the process of filing and serving a complaint can be fraught with errors. Mistakes such as incorrectly identifying and/or naming the proper defendant, failing to serve all defendants within the statutorily prescribed time limits, or neglecting to provide timely tort claim notice to a public body defendant may expose you to malpractice liability.

The speakers offered many useful tips on how to avoid filing and service mistakes, but their number one piece of advice was: Don’t wait until the last minute to file and serve your complaint.

Waiting until the eleventh hour of a statute of limitations deadline to file a complaint is a big risk no lawyer should ever take. Last-minute filing leaves very little or no time for you to fix mistakes or issues that could result in a malpractice claim. Some of the mistakes that can lead to potential claims include:

  • Submitting an incorrect filing fee with the complaint;

  • Serving the summons and complaint at the last minute and not following up with the process server before the time for service expires to verify that service was properly accomplished;

  • Naming and/or serving the wrong defendant;

  • Improperly serving a corporate defendant or other business representative;

  • Failing to obtain sufficient information to effect substitute or office service under ORCP 7 D (2)(b) or (c);

  • Omitting necessary follow-up mailings;

  • Failing to mail to all three addresses specified in ORCP 7 D(4) when relying on mail service in motor vehicle accident cases;

  • Neglecting to review and file proofs of service with summons in compliance with ORCP 7 F(1);

  • Making eFiling mistakes, such as attempting to file on dates when the File & Serve system is unavailable or selecting the incorrect filing code;

  • Failing to check whether the defendant is deceased;

  • Failing to check for bankruptcy filings; and

  • Forgetting to include statutory notices (e.g., notices to veterans in eviction and foreclosure filings required under ORS 408.515).

Many of these errors can be easily avoided or fixed if you file early to ensure ample time to take responsive or remedial action. To learn more, watch the recorded CLE now available on our website.

/ InPractice / by

Featured Posts