You’ve Got Mail
Does your company have a written policy that covers who can sign for certified or restricted mail? How about for a FedEx© or UPS© package? If not, you may want to consider implementing a written Incoming Mail and Express Shipment Policy (IMESP).
The South & North Carolina state and federal court rules and statues allow a party to be served with a lawsuit or subpoena in several ways. A company may be served by personal delivery to an officer, director or managing agent of the company. Generally speaking, a company may also be served by certified or registered mail to an officer, director, managing agent or other authorized agent of the company.
You can safely assume that the lawyer suing the company or sending the subpoena has checked the records of the Secretary of State’s office and has determined who is the registered agent for your company. Unless your company is publicly traded, the lawyer probably does not know the officers, directors or the managing agent. Frequently a lawyer will try to serve a lawsuit or subpoena by Certified or Registered Mail to the registered agent of the company.
If your company does not have a written policy identifying who is authorized to sign for registered or certified mail for officers, directors, managing agent and registered agent, you have a problem.
A good IMESP for the construction and design industries should do the following:
For general mail:
- Establish how mail is to be distributed and by whom;
- Track all incoming correspondence by date, sender, and addressee, ideally with an identifying code, case, or file number; and
- Set protocols for scanning and filing correspondence in a digital project folder.
For packages and express shipments:
- Establish who may sign for goods, materials, samples, drawings, etc.;
- Establish how packages are to be distributed and by whom; and
- Track all incoming packages by date, sender, and addressee, ideally with an identifying code, case, or file number.
For certified or registered mail:
- Establish that Certified or Registered Mail is considered of high importance and may include items such as contracts, deeds and other legal documents of a time sensitive nature;
- Identify the specific officers of the company who may sign for Certified or Registered Mail; and
- Track all incoming Certified or Registered Mail by date, sender, and addressee, ideally with an identifying code, case, or file number.