Thursday, January 16, 2020

Superior Court Rules That Default Should Have Been Opened Where Defects in Service Noted

In the case of Digital Commc’n Warehouse, Inc. v. Allen Inv., LLC., 2019 Pa. Super. 341 (Pa. Super. Nov. 15, 2019) (Op. by Bender, J.), the Pennsylvania Superior Court ruled that a trial court was obligated to grant a Petition to Open a Default Judgment where the Defendant was found to have offered a valid dispute as to the validity of service of the Complaint. The court noted that improper service would negate the trial court’s jurisdiction over the Defendant.

This matter arose out of a contract dispute. A default judgment was entered when the Defendant did not respond to the Complaint or enter an appearance.

As noted, on appeal, the court accepted the argument that the entry of a default judgment was a nullity because the trial court lacked jurisdiction given that the Plaintiff allegedly failed to properly serve the underlying Complaint.

While the court noted that the Defendant was not entitled to have the judgment stricken under a procedural rationale, the Defendant was entitled to have the judgment opened on an equitable basis for the reasons noted.

Anyone wishing to review a copy of this decision may click this LINK.

Source: “Digest of Recent Opinions” Pennsylvania Law Weekly (Dec. 3, 2019).

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