Legal Question in Civil Rights Law in California

Summons served to wrong person

I am being sued for a car accident that I was never involved in. A private investigator came to my home to leave summons, I explained I wasn't the person he was looking for, but he still left documents. I called the plaintiff's attorney, but he says I have to prove I'm not the person involved. Apparently there were witnesses and I match the description and I'm also the only person in the phone book with my name. There are many people in the phone book with my first initial and last name, but I'm the only John Smith. My name is a pretty common name by the way. Do I have a right to ask the plaintiff's attorney to send me all evidence against me? It's just such a hassle to deal with all of this and prove that I'm the wrong guy. Shouldn't an attorney do more investigating? Is it legal to just look in the phone book and serve someone? Can I countersue for all the expenses that I'm going to incur and for the lost wages since I will have to take time off work?

Asked on 3/28/08, 8:56 pm

2 Answers from Attorneys

Robert F. Cohen Law Office of Robert F. Cohen
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Re: Summons served to wrong person

Tender the lawsuit to your insurance company, give them the explanation, and let them worry about it.

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3/28/08, 9:26 pm
Terry A. Nelson Nelson & Lawless
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Re: Summons served to wrong person

If you've already failed in discussions with the plaintiff attorney, to avoid a default judgment against you, your options are to turn it over to your insurance company [you had insurance, right?!], or file appropriate responsive pleadings in court. If you don't know how to practice law successfully in court, hire an attorney that does.

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3/31/08, 1:24 pm

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