I just got off the phone with Darren. I've been trying to serve Darren with a summons and complaint for the past four months. He's in sunny California, but don't tell his ex-wife.
Darren burned down a shoe store and a restaurant while performing electrical work at the restaurant. The shoe store's fire insurer has asked me to recover its payments from Darren's liability insurance company. But to get to Darren's insurer (otherwise I don't really care about Darren), I have to get to Darren.
All mail to Darren's last verified address came back unopened, "No Longer Live Hear." A skip trace revealed more than a dozen short-term addresses for Darren over the past two years, all of the transient variety. So finally, to stave off service by publication in a newspaper (a means of service which is fraught with procedural pitfalls to trap lawyers) I picked up the phone and called Darren's last known verified telephone number.
And I got an earful from Darren's ex-wife. After explaining that I was calling about an important insurance matter, I was told Darren no longer live hear, and he ain't paying his child support, and what am I gonna do about that, and a lot of other unsavory thoughts about Darren and his place in the world.
"I'm afraid I can't help you there ma'am. I'm trying to sue Mr. X myself."
"Oh, you from the restaurant?"
"Not quite. I'm from the shoe store."
"HAH! I'll have him call you next time he call hear."
"Just tell him its about an important insurance matter."
Apparently Darren, though unwilling to support his children, still wishes to be a part of their lives. So he calls them, and calls his ex, to see how things are going. And so we talked.
"This Darren X. You from the insurance company?"
"Which insurance company?"
I told him.
"I have some important papers for you Mr. X. They'll help us to resolve this problem about the shoe store."
"Is that still goin' on?"
"I'm afraid so, Mr. X."
"My insurance company handling it?"
"This will help them to handle it, sir."
"Ok, send 'em to me."
"Where do I do that?"
"Before I tell you, you gotta promise me something."
"That you'll never tell my wife this address."
He tells me.
"Ok, and Mr. X, just one more thing. I know you move around a lot. Is that because of your wife?"
"Well, I promise I'll never talk to her again, but I want you to know that these are very important papers. I'm going to send them by Federal Express, and you'll have to sign for them, is that ok?"
"And you will sign for them?"
"Yeah. Just don't tell my wife."
But I didn't promise not to tell Child Support Enforcement.