Case Law Alerts
Challenging defects in service of process are moot once the challenger has participated in discovery.
The defendant was sued in Philadelphia County. The plaintiffs filed the case as an arbitration matter, as part of the compulsory arbitration program since the plaintiffs were seeking damages of no more than $50,000. There were several procedural issues regarding service of the defendant, including that of the amended complaint. Also, there were several issues regarding discovery, which led to sanctions hearings and more. (The defendant was unrepresented.) The defendant ultimately answered some of the discovery, providing hand-written responses. After the arbitration (which the defendant did not attend), the arbitrators provided favorable awards for the plaintiffs. The defendant did not appeal within the 30-day appeal period. When the defendant finally sought counsel, the defendant filed a petition to open or vacate the judgment, arguing lack of personal jurisdiction by service of process, specifically because she was not served with the amended complaint. The court found that the defendant never objected to defective service during the arbitration process, and the fact that she answered written discovery indicated her waiver of the right to object to defective service. (Furthermore, she could have objected to the arbitration award within the 30-day period after the award was entered.)
Case Law Alerts, 4th Quarter, October 2019
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