The Who2 Blog

Zen (and Jen) and the Art of Process Serving

Jennifer Aniston was served with legal papers hidden in a bouquet last night.

The evening ended on a sour note when Aniston left the Sunset Towers Hotel and was served with legal papers hidden in a basket of flowers, telling her she was to be a witness in a sexual harassment suit involving her agent, Todd Shemarya.

I’ve always been a little confounded by the strange dance that is process serving. I myself was once served in my bed, at 6:30 am, as a witness to a traffic accident. No flowers.

Turns out there is a national association of process servers, complete with its own best practices committee and lapel pins. A member of the Colorado branch offers a short explanation of the whole crazy deal:

In past times and places, people didn’t even have a right to know if they were involved in matters concerning the court system… Legal actions could be decided without a person’s knowledge until the local law enforcement showed up to confiscate their property, eject them from their home, or even haul them off to debtor’s prison.

So historically the process server is the one who informs people of their constitutional rights to due process of the law by “serving” them with notice that there’s an important legal issue that involves them.

We believe it is truly a noble and righteous profession. The people who are aware of this fact, will quite often thank the process server instead of being abusive to her or him.

If thanks were the norm, the flowers and 6:30 am visits probably wouldn’t be necessary. And the word “ambush” might not be used so often.

There are other strange angles to the serving business. Maine and Texas, for instance, prohibit serving on Sundays. Perhaps it’s all better left a mystery.

For the extremely curious, here’s some background on the Shemarya suit, which dates back to November 2008.

And here, apropos of nothing, are some great photos of Jennifer Aniston!

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