There may be places, either real or fictional, where avoiding works. It is a great plot point for instance, but the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure upon which most United States based localities structure their rules do not make avoidance a viable strategy.
The rules for serving a summons can be found at https://www.law.cornell.edu/rules/frcp/rule_4 include the following:
(2) doing any of the following:
(A) delivering a copy of the summons and of the complaint to the individual personally;
(B) leaving a copy of each at the individual's dwelling or usual place of abode with someone of suitable age and discretion who resides there; or
(C) delivering a copy of each to an agent authorized by appointment or by law to receive service of process.
and then later it discusses applying any costs incurred as a result of avoiding the service:
Subdivision (d). This text is new, but is substantially derived from the former subdivisions (c)(2)(C) and (D), added to the rule by Congress in 1983. The aims of the provision are to eliminate the costs of service of a summons on many parties and to foster cooperation among adversaries and counsel. The rule operates to impose upon the defendant those costs that could have been avoided if the defendant had cooperated reasonably in the manner prescribed.
Also if the target of the summons can be shown to have tried to evade service the time limit for service may be altered:
The procedure of requesting waiver of service should also not be used if the time for service under subdivision (m) will expire before the date on which the waiver must be returned. While a plaintiff has been allowed additional time for service in that situation, e.g., Prather v. Raymond Constr. Co., 570 F. Supp. 278 (N.D. Ga. 1983), the court could refuse a request for additional time unless the defendant appears to have evaded service pursuant to subdivision (e) or (h). It may be noted that the presumptive time limit for service under subdivision (m) does not apply to service in a foreign country.
In California's guide they discuss a variety of means of service and then under personal service state:
- The server gives the papers to the party being served. It can be at the party’s home, work, or anywhere on the street.
- The server has to identify the party being served and hand the legal papers to him or her and inform him or her that they are court papers.
- If the party being served does not want to take the papers, they can be left on the ground in front of him or her.
- If he or she takes the papers and tears them up or throws them away, service is still considered to be valid. The person being served does not have to sign anything.
- The server then fills out a proof of service, detailing when, where, and how (in person) the papers were served. The server signs the proof of service and returns it to you to file in court.
- Personal service is complete the day the papers are served.