Monday, December 6, 2021

Court Addresses Service of Process on Out-of-State Defendant and Non Pros Issues


In the case of Auto Club Ins. Ass’n v. Enter. Holdings, Inc., No. 16-CV-422 (C.P. Lacka. Co. Oct. 5, 2021 Nealon, J.), the court held that a Defendant was properly served with a Writ of Summons filed within the statutory time limits. The court also ruled that the Defendant did not suffer prejudice such that the Complaint should not be dismissed due to an alleged untimely prosecution of the claim.

In this matter, the Defendant was headquartered in another state. 

The court determined that the Pennsylvania Rules of Civil Procedure required that this Defendant be served within ninety (90) days of the Writ of Summons by way of certified mail, return receipt requested. 

Judge Nealon found that the record before him confirmed that this Defendant was timely and properly served. As such, the first Preliminary Objection regarding service of process issues was overruled.

With regard to the Defendant’s argument that the matter was not timely prosecuted due to the fact that the sixty (60) months had passed between the issuance of the Writ of Summons and the filing of the Complaint, the court stated that this issue was not properly raised as a Preliminary Objection but should have been raised via Motion for Judgment Non Pros. 

However, even applying the rules pertaining to the determination of a Motion for Judgment of Non Pros, Judge Nealon found that the Defendant failed to identify any actual prejudice it had suffered due to the passage of time. Given that there was no prejudice found, the Defendant’s objection in this regard was also overruled.

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

Source: “Digest of Recent Opinions.” Pennsylvania Law Weekly (Nov. 23, 2021).

Source of image: Photo by Enrique Zafra from www.pexels.com.

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