Some procedure for your arsenal: use of the highway statute.

I’m not sure about every law school out there, but at mine procedure was very heavily stressed. Legal procedure is all about knowing the rules, applying the rules, and ultimately creating a file that is ready to go to trial. For other lawyers out there you know that service of process (SOP) is a key ingredient from the very beginning.

While most lawyers are probably familiar with the long arm statute, a lesser known or used tactic is Louisiana Revised Statute 13:3474. Also known as the “use of the highway” statute, this rule is created for protection of the citizens of our state. Basically, this statute declares that anyone that has operated a motor vehicle on a highway within the state of Louisiana has appointed the Louisiana Secretary of State as their registered agent. This applies to nonresidents or just passers by, if you’ve driven into the state, the Secretary of State is your agent or representative.

Since this statute involves a non-resident the question of due process will likely be an issue. It is my opinion that due process is met when there is a good faith effort to make reasonable steps to notify a person. Ultimately, if someone does not want to be found they can find a way to hide. But, for my dollar I use the Long Arm Statute and the Use of the Highway Statute. I think you’ll find that the extra effort is worth the trouble.

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