Sewer service

Sewer service is an epithet for the intentional failure to provide service of process on a named party in a lawsuit, in order to prevent the party from having a chance to respond. This practice usually involves filing a false affidavit claiming that the defendant had been properly served court papers; then, when the defendant fails to appear, the plaintiff then applies for and wins a default judgment due to the defendant's non-appearance.[1] The phrase refers to the figure of speech of throwing the documents into a sewer, and is considered a fraud upon the court.[2]

It was referenced in a 2019 United States Supreme Court opinion, Rotkiske v. Klemm, which featured an allegation of a debt collector winning a default judgment against a debtor through sewer service.[3]

Further readingEdit

  • Tuerkheimer, Frank M. (1972). "Service of process in New York City: A proposed end to unregulated criminality". Cite journal requires |journal= (help) (72 Colum. L. Rev. 847)
  • Press Release: "The New York State Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo Announces Guilty Plea Of Process Server Company Owner Who Denied Thousands Of New Yorkers Their Day In Court". January 15, 2010. Retrieved 2019-10-06. process servers and law firms that have made a mockery of our justice system by engaging in ‘sewer service.’
  • Shaun Ertischek, Esq. Debt Collection Through Sewer Service, 31 July 2010. (Archived here by WebCite)


  1. ^ Rivera, Ray (2009-12-30). "Suit Claims Fraud by New York Debt Collectors". The New York Times. Retrieved 2019-12-23.
  2. ^ Olson, Walter (2010-01-05). ""Sewer service" alleged against New York debt collectors". Retrieved 2019-12-23.
  3. ^ Strawbridge, Kimberly; Rubin, Jordan; Saltz, Heather (2019-12-10). "Justices Rule for Creditor in 'Sewer Service' Debt Dispute". Retrieved 2019-12-10.