The California Code of Civil Procedure 1013 (amended effective 1/1/2011) addresses the issue of service by mail in a court action, and what constitutes as proof of service to the court. The proof options can be one of several methods:
1) An affidavit with the exact title of the document served and filed, bearing the name and address, either home or business, of the serving individual, demonstrating they are a resident of the county in which the mailing occurred. Said affidavit must also state that he/she is over 18 years old, and is not a party to the legal action, with the date and where the document was served in the mail. They must also furnish proof that the envelope was sealed and deposited with postage paid in full.
2) A certificate with the exact title of the document served and filed, including the name and business address of the server, showing that he or she is admitted to the State Bar of California, and not a party to the legal action. This certificate must show the date and place where the mail was deposited and the name and address of the individual being served on the envelope, with proof the envelope was sealed and deposited in the mail with postage prepaid in full.
3) An affidavit with the exact title of the document being served in the action, with the name and address of the individual serving, that he or she is a resident or is employed in the county where the service takes place. Additional information needed is a statement that he or she is over 18 years old, and not a party in the legal action, and that he or she is familiar with the collection and processing of mail, that the mailing would be placed with the United States Postal Service that same day, and the name and address of the served individual shown on the envelope, with the date and location where the mailing was placed to be received by the United States Postal Service, and that the envelope was sealed and placed for collection adhering to the business’ standard practices for mail. The service shall be assumed invalid if the cancellation date is more than one day after the deposit date stated within the affidavit.
It is important to note that if a clerk of court completes the service task, the code requires a certificate by that clerk with the exact title of the document served, the name of the clerk who performed the service, and a statement that he or she is a clerk of the court and not party to the cause is required. The certificate must also show the date and location where the document was served, the name and address it was served upon as it appears on the envelope, and proof that the enveloped was sealed with correct prepaid postage when it was placed in the mail.
This civil procedure code states that these proofs shall be sufficient if the clerk listed on the certificate as performing service places the document to be collected by the United States Postal Service. If a party moves on service and the court finds it to be in good cause, the court will then assume the service occurred on the date shown in the mail’s cancellation stamp or postage meter marking, provided the date is more than one day after the date of initial mailing, as stated in the certificate.
This code is used by the court to determine whether a document that was served is valid in a legal action.