Other than a bar grievance how would litigants respond to their adversary filing papers and not sending them copy?

1 Answer 1


The litigants could request in a motion to the court that any action taken based upon the filing of the documents be set aside, could move for an extension of time based upon non-service of the papers, and could move to strike the documents, depending upon the circumstances. The remedy would depend to some extent on what was not served and what consequences that had and whether the person not served could have known to check the court file because they would have expected to be served.

Of course, there are a few kinds of papers that can be filed in litigation ex parte without giving advanced notice to the other party, such as a motion to hold someone in contempt of court, a motion for a temporary restraining order, and certain kinds of property seizure or arrest orders where disclosure would impair the ability of the person carrying out process to do so.

If the documents not sent were initial service of process in a case, failure to give notice might be jurisdictional, although this is not true in every case (e.g. in a probate or bankruptcy case, notice to another interested party with the same kind of interest is often sufficient to bar a challenge by a party who didn't receive notice).

  • Looking at your first paragraph. So, are parties responsible for getting copies of court filings rather than receiving them? What about the "certificate of Service"? A party stating they served another party when they did not seems serious enough to deserve sanctions over any expenditure spent correcting the issue.
    – j. howdee
    Commented Nov 2, 2017 at 18:02
  • Extra time daily searching court file in complex litigation with numerous defendants is involved. Could this be seen as abusive adding cost and delay? Could a party see the filing in the court file and ignore it because they have not been served a copy as required by rule?
    – j. howdee
    Commented Nov 2, 2017 at 18:02
  • @j.howdee The trouble is that if the only time is extra effort spent on the issue (which might be a possible sanction), and that harm is remedied before any disadvantage in the litigation arises, the effort spent correcting it may not be worth the trouble in $$ and use of scarce judicial attention. Usually failure to serve someone who is listed on a certificate of services is due to an inadvertent clerical mistake of a paralegal or legal secretary. Often those sorts of errors aren't battles worth fighting if they can be fixed going forward and no disadvantage in the litigation actually arose.
    – ohwilleke
    Commented Nov 2, 2017 at 19:17
  • So, this sounds like a good way for seasoned veterans to harass the newbie. I would have thought that failure to service would be serious. So this is what I am hearing - if someone does not serve you papers - don't serve them papers either and save on judicial economy and paper and postage and time. Not trying to be rude BUT, I would think that these repeated abuses of the procedures would be seen by all as something that would deserve attention.
    – j. howdee
    Commented Nov 4, 2017 at 23:20
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    @j.howdee Your attribution of intent to screw you up on the part of seasoned veterans to non-service is almost always (ca. 95%+ of the time) incorrect and treating careless mistakes as intentional ones is usually a bad idea. If you nag them enough and they don't do anything then it starts to look intentional and a court might take it more seriously.
    – ohwilleke
    Commented Nov 6, 2017 at 14:44

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