Monday, April 17, 2023

Motion To Dismiss Granted Where Attempt At Service By Mail Found to Be Deficient

In the case of Staretz v. Wal-Mart Stores East, LP, No. 3:22-CV-00967 (M.D. Pa. March 3, 2023 Mehalchick, J.), Federal Magistrate District Court Judge Karoline Mehalchick recommended that a Defendant’s F.R.C.P. 12 (b)(6) Motion to Dismiss be granted on the grounds that the Plaintiff failed to properly serve the Defendant with the lawsuit.

The court pointed out that the return receipt for the purported service by mail was illegible and that the Plaintiff provided no other evidence to establish the authority of the signee to accept service on behalf of the Defendant.

Federal Mag. Judge Karoline Mehalchick
M.D. Pa.

Judge Mehalchick noted that the rules of service must be strictly followed as service of process is how the court obtains jurisdiction over a defendant.

Given that the signature on the return receipt of the attempted service by mail was illegible and given that there was no other evidence that the Defendant received actual notice of the lawsuit, the court found that the Plaintiff’s attempt at service could not be considered to have been completed in “good faith” as required by Pennsylvania law and, as such, the failed efforts by the Plaintiff to complete service were not found to have tolled the statute of limitations.

Accordingly, Judge Mehalchick recommended that the Defendant's Motion to Dismiss be granted.    

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

I send thanks to Attorney James M. Beck of the Philadelphia law office of the Reed Smith law firm.

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