Friday, October 6, 2023

Case Dismissed Due To Lack of Good Faith Effort to Complete Service

In the case of Wakefield v. Wal-Mart Stores East, LP, No. 10201-CV-2023 (C.P. Beaver Co. Aug. 10, 2023 Ross, J.), the court granted summary judgment in favor of a Defendant after finding that a Plaintiff could not satisfy the requirements of Lamp v. Heyman merely by providing a copy of the Complaint to a private attorney who had represented the Defendant in other cases in the past.

The court noted that such informal procedures do not assure that the Defendant will receive actual notice of the lawsuit. The court also more specifically noted that the private attorney who was provided with a copy of the Complaint was neither an employee nor an agent of the Defendant. Furthermore, that attorney did not otherwise agree to accept service on behalf of the Defendant.

The court in this matter found that such informal actions in an attempt to complete service did not represent a good faith effort to complete service.

The court additionally held that, under the current status of Pennsylvania law, in the absence of a good faith effort to complete service upon a Defendant, there is no need to consider whether or not the Defendant was prejudiced due to the failure to complete service in a timely fashion before the case could be dismissed.

The court additionally stated that failing to make a good faith attempt at service need not go so far as to constitute bad faith in order to run afoul of the statute of limitations.

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

I send thanks to Attorney James M. Beck of the Philadelphia office of Reed Smith law firm for bringing this case to my attention.

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