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Notary Bulletin

Notary Tip: 4 Steps To Take If You Are Sued


Updated 9-21-20. Notaries can be sued at any time — even when notarizations are performed correctly. It's crucial you follow these 4 steps to reduce any liability and damages should a complaint ever be filed against you.

1. Contact your bond or E&O insurance carrier.

Don’t wait. Immediately contact your bond or insurance carrier. They will handle the case.

2. Locate your journal and be sure to document events.

Your journal contains key evidence that law enforcement will use to help your case. It shows that you adhered to laws and best practices, and your attorney will want to have a copy of the journal entry for the notarization in question. It’s also a good idea to document the notarization independent from your journal, recalling details including those present, the location, dates, timelines, circumstances, and anything else pertinent. And collect copies of documents and related records. This will help when your surety carrier or insurer asks for a statement.

3. Don’t talk to opposing counsel.

If contacted by an attorney other than your own, do not say anything regarding the notarization in question or refer the opposing attorney to your insurance company. And never initiate contact with opposing counsel. Your statements are ammunition for the opposition to use against you, and you should only communicate with your own lawyer or with the bonding or insurance company’s representative. Disclosing information could harm your chances of resolving the claim free of financial loss. Simply refer all questions to your attorney.

4. Cooperate with your attorney.

Your attorney is an expert on Notary claims and is working on your behalf. It’s in your best interest to fully cooperate and supply them with accurate, relevant information. The more you cooperate and disclose, the more likely it is that your attorney can prevent any financial loss.

Michael Lewis is Managing Editor of member publications for the National Notary Association.


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29 Aug 2016

this is a ridiculous requirement!!

jesus m jimenez

29 Aug 2016

It cost me $17,500.00 to defend myself. It was a vexatious litigant. Then this litigant went to the Secretary of State's office. That is another story and $4,000.00 to state, lack of due diligence on the state. Notaries be careful.

Johnny S. Garcia Jr

01 Sep 2016

There is contradictory information regarding the "DONT'S".,Please review and advise correctly if opposing attorney contacts a notary. Do we, or do we not refer opposing attorneys to insurance company????

National Notary Association

01 Sep 2016

Hello. There was some confusion regarding the wording in the article. We have edited it for clarity and apologize for any inconvenience.

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