Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Service of Process via Certified Mail

The Mississippi Court of Appeals decided Long v. Vitkauskas located here. Long and his wife separated on May 16, 2011.  On March 17, 2014, Long sued Vitkauskas for alienation of affection.  Vitkauskas, a resident of Pennsylvania, was served with process via certified mail marked “restricted delivery” pursuant to Mississippi Rule of Civil Procedure 4(c)(5).  The address listed was Vitkauskas’s place of employment.  The return receipt was not signed by Vitkauskas but rather someone named “Mary” with the last name illegible.

On May 14, 2014, Vitkauskas’s attorney entered a special appearance to contest jurisdiction.  Vitkauskas also filed a motion to dismiss for lack of jurisdiction.  On October 9, 2014, the trial court granted the motion, finding that service was insufficient since Vitkauskas himself did not sign the return receipt.  Long filed a motion for reconsideration and Vitkauskas responded.  After a hearing, the trial court denied Long’s motion for reconsideration and denied Long’s request for additional time to serve Vitkauskas.

This was ultimately affirmed by the Court of Appeals.  This is why I do not do certified mail service for the most part.  There are too many chances for a defendant to play games and argue insufficient service. 

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