Hopefully, you’ll never need to deal with a lawsuit filed against your business. However, as your business grows so does its chance of being involved in litigation. Read on to find out what happens if your company gets sued and the role of your Registered Agent in this process.
If your business is sued, the law requires that jurisdiction by the courts over your company is obtained by delivering Service of Process to your Registered Agent. Service of process refers to the delivery of the legal paperwork that gives your business notice of the legal action against it and the opportunity to respond. Service of process can also include a subpoena for company records and documents.
When a lawsuit is filed against your company, your designated Registered Agent is the one who receives the legal documents known as Service of Process. The documents served are usually a summons and complaint. The summons provides notice of a legal action against your corporation or LLC, as well as the time period you have to respond. The complaint states why your company is being sued. Service of process is delivered to the registered office address during normal business hours.
CT Tip: Hiring a reliable professional Registered Agent means that someone trained to handle legal documents is always physically present at the registered office address during normal business hours. And particularly important for businesses with customers on the premises or home based businesses, hiring a professional Registered Agent ensures you won’t need to deal with the negative connotations associated with being served. Needless to say, a sheriff or process server delivering lawsuit paperwork in front of customers is not good for your business image!
You’ve been served—What’s next?
Once your Registered Agent has received Service of Process for your company, the next step is for the Registered Agent to notify and forward the legal documents to the appropriate contact in your organization. Time is of the essence—generally, an answer or response must be filed within 20 days of the receipt of service.
CT Tip: A professional Registered Agent is invaluable if your company is sued or otherwise served. You have the peace of mind of knowing that legal documents will be delivered to a person that knows exactly what they are and how important it is that your business receive the Service of Process as quickly as possible.
Why you need an agent for service of process
What happens if a corporation or LLC is being sued and it doesn’t have a designated Registered Agent on record with the state? In that case, a court uses alternative methods to obtain jurisdiction, which often results in untimely, or worse, no actual notice of a lawsuit to the company. In a worst case scenario, a default judgment can be entered against a business with no knowledge it was being sued! Having a reliable Registered Agent, such as the services offered by CT, is critical so that a company can receive notice of any legal action in a timely manner, affording it the opportunity to defend itself.