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Connecticut Process Server Entitled to Copy Fee

The Connecticut Supreme Court has held that a process server is entitled to receive a fee for copies even where the server did not make the copies. The ruling came in a writ of error proceeding brought by State Marshal Lisa H. Stevenson.

Ernest Francis brought a declaratory judgment action against all 185 members of the Connecticut General Assembly. He received a waiver of the entry fee and the process server’s service, including a fee for copies of the complaint made by § 56-261 (a)(2). Using copies of the complaint made by Francis’ son, Stevenson affected service on all 185 defendants by leaving process on each with an associate attorney general.

Before making service, Stevenson endorsed her attestation that each complaint was a true copy of the original. She subsequently submitted an invoice claiming fees. The trial court approved fees for service, mileage, and endorsement fees, but it disallowed a $900 fee for copies. This prompted Stevenson to file the writ of error.

The supreme court noted § 56-261 (a)(2) provides “fees shall be allowed and paid … for copies of writs and complaints, exclusive of endorsements, one dollar per page, not to exceed a total amount of nine hundred dollars in any particular matter …” the court found the language was ambiguous.

To interpret the statute, the court looked to legislative history. The review disclosed “there was clear legislative intent expressed that, in accordance with the custom and practice then existing, the fee for copies be paid regardless of who actually makes the copies, and as compensation for the process server’s job of ensuring the accuracy of the copies.”

The court held the trial court abused its discretion in failing to award Stevenson’s request fee for copies of $900. It granted the writ and remanded for the award to be made. See: Francis v. Fonfara, 303 Conn. 292, 33 A.3d 185 (Conn. 2012).

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Related legal case

Francis v. Fonfara