Summary – Palm Properties Investments, LLC v. Yadegar

Palm Properties Investments, LLC v. Yadegar, 194 Cal.App.4th 1419 (2011)

The California Court of Appeal ruled on the issue of the rebuttable presumption status of a proof of service signed by a registered process server under Evidence Code § 647.

As a condition precedent to the unlawful detainer action, a three-day notice to pay rent was served on the tenants by a registered process server. Although the defendants admitted receiving the notice in a letter through counsel, they filed a motion claiming that the plaintiff had failed to establish a prima facie case, and had not strictly complied with the Unlawful Detainer Act. The court sustained the defendants’ objection to the proffer of the proof of service of the notice as evidence and ruled in favor of the defendants’ contention that the plaintiff did not meet its burden in establishing that the notice was properly served.

The appellate court reviewed the trial court’s finding of fact to determine whether they were supported by the evidence. Because the conclusions of law were based on the evidence, the review was made de novo.

Because the service was effected by a registered process server, the proof of service should have been admitted. Under Evidence Code § 647, a registered process server’s proof of service established an evidentiary presumption, affecting the burden of producing evidence. Absent the defendants’ rebuttal evidence, the trier of fact must find for the plaintiff in accordance with the presumption.

Therefore, the trial court erred in not applying the presumption.

The judgment for the defendant was reversed, and the matter was remanded to the trial court for retrial.

This is the first appellate decision addressing Evidence Code § 647 since CAPPS sponsored this legislation over 25 years ago.

See full Opinion here
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