Default Judgment & Rule 4(C), Ala. R. CIV. P. Service of Process - Ex Parte Lereta, LLC


Ex parte Lereta, LLC, [Ms. 1151054, Dec. 2, 2016] __ So. 3d __ (Ala. 2016). The Court grants a petition for a writ of mandamus and directs the Colbert Circuit Court to vacate its order denying a motion to set aside a default judgment based upon a failure to properly perfect service upon an LLC. Because service was directed only to the LLC and was signed for by an employee who was not an officer, partner, managing agent, general agent, or agent authorized by appointment or by law to receive service of process, service was not perfected as required by Rule 4(c) such that the default judgment taken against that LLC was void. See Boudreaux v. Kemp, 49 So. 3d 1190, 1194 (Ala. 2010)("the failure to effect proper service under Rule 4, Ala. R. Civ. P., deprives the trial court of personal jurisdiction over the defendant and renders a default judgment void."). Rule 4(c)(6), Ala. R. Civ. P. directs to whom certified mail must be addressed:

"(c) Upon Whom Process Served. Service of process ... shall be made as follows:


"(6) Corporations and Other Entities. Upon a domestic or foreign corporation or upon a partnership, limited partnership, limited liability partnership, limited liability company, or unincorporated organization or association, by serving an officer, a partner (other than a limited partner), a managing or general agent, or any agent authorized by appointment or by law to receive service of process."

(Emphasis added.)

For service by certified mail to a business entity to be effective, Rule 4(i)(2)(C) requires delivery to an "addressee," who must be a person as identified in Rule 4(c)(6) or to the addressee's agent specifically authorized to receive the addressee's mail. Ms. *11-12. Accordingly, because the underlying default judgment was void, mandamus was warranted to direct the Colbert Circuit Court to set aside the default judgment and to enter an order setting aside the default judgment.

Related Documents: Ex parte Lereta

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