Procedural Posture

Procedural Posture

Appellants, husband and wife, sought review of the order from the Superior Court of Orange County, which granted respondent individual’s motion to quash service of process on the grounds that appellants failed to show reasonable diligence in their efforts to serve him personally before resorting to substituted service.

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Overview

Appellant, husband and wife, filed a complaint against respondent individual and others for damages based on negligence, breach of contract, fraud, and conspiracy, and attempted to locate respondent through their attorney and a private investigator. Upon locating respondent’s residence, appellants made several attempts to serve him before leaving the summons and complaint with his wife, who was also a party. The lower court quashed the service based on appellants’ failure to exercise due diligence to serve respondent personally before resorting to substituted service. On appeal the court reversed and found that appellants’ attempts to locate respondent and three attempts to serve him personally satisfied the requirement of reasonable diligence and allowed substituted service to be made. The court held that the service of process statutes were to be liberally construed to effectuate service and uphold the jurisdiction of the court if actual notice has been received by respondent. The court held that since the actions of the process server were calculated to, and did, result in actual notice, the requirement of reasonable diligence under Cal. Civ. Proc. Code ยง 415.20(b) was met.

Outcome

The court reversed the lower court’s order quashing service on respondent individual because appellants, husband and wife, showed due diligence in attempting to serve him personally before resorting to substitute service and respondent received actual notice.