We have successfully appealed the denial of a motion to quash the service of process on one of our clients. In a divorce proceeding, our client’s former wife obtained a default judgment of dissolution of marriage against our client. Upon learning of the entry of the default judgment, our client retained our law firm to attempt to vacate the default judgment, complaining that he had not been served with summons or any divorce paperwork.
Upon being retained by our client, our attorneys filed a motion to quash the alleged substitute service of process (it was alleged that service of process was had on our client’s son). At hearing on the motion to quash, the trial court ruled that our client was legally barred from challenging the alleged service, as well as the trial court’s authority to enter the default judgment, because other documents were filed in the case on our client’s behalf. As such, the trial court summarily denied the motion to quash and upheld the default judgment as valid. Our attorneys appealed the trial court’s ruling on the motion.
On appeal, our attorneys argued, among other things, that the filing of other documents in the case did not legally bar our client’s challenge of the alleged service of process. The appellate court agreed. In addition, the appellate court held that because evidence was presented by our attorneys challenging the affidavit of the special process server, and no counter-affidavit was filed by our client’s former wife, coupled with the presence of defects on the face of the special process server’s affidavit, the trial court erred in not granting the motion to quash. As such, the appellate court reversed the trial court’s order that denied our client’s motion to quash service of summons and remanded the case back to the trial court with directions to grant the motion to quash and accordingly vacate the default judgment.