Runestad: Fraud case shows need for process server reform

Runestad: Fraud case shows need for process server reform

Senator Jim Runestad

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Jim Runestad on Wednesday stressed the need for court process server reform a day after three attorneys from an Oakland County law firm were arrested for fraud, including allegedly failing to carry out required processes for notifying defendants.

“Corruption like this is why I introduced legislation to reform the process server system to be more transparent, more accountable and fairer for our most vulnerable,” said Runestad, R-White Lake. “Innocent folks were cheated out of their hard-earned dollars and taken advantage of through our legal system, and that needs to change.”

Senate Bill 244 would revise the “service of process” procedures, which refer to delivering a notice that legal action against an individual has been initiated. The bill would replace an affidavit stating the facts of service as proof of delivery, with a more detailed “verification of service” statement.

“My bill would better protect our most vulnerable, who should all have the right to defend themselves in a civil suit,” Runestad said.

On April 6, investigators reported that 70-year-old Marc Fishman, 32-year-old Ryan Fishman and 33-year-old Alexandra Ichim filed civil lawsuits on behalf of their clients in Genesee County. However, they allegedly did not carry out required processes for notifying the defendants in about 30 cases. All three attorneys from the Fishman Group allegedly claimed court documents in debt collection lawsuits were served at the defendants’ last known addresses.

“Vulnerable folks were cheated out of their hard-earned dollars, many without even knowing what was happening,” Runestad said. “Anything we can do to make the process server system more open, honest and accountable will make a real difference for families and the most vulnerable in our community.”

Anyone who believes they were victimized by the Fishman Group should collect all of the records or court documents in their possession and contact their county prosecutor.

SB 244 has been referred to the Senate Judiciary and Public Safety Committee for consideration.

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