Service of Process – Personal Jurisdiction

Williamson v. Watson, et al., [Ms. 1200859, Sep. 30, 2022] __ So. 3d __ (Ala. 2022). The Court (Mitchell, J.; Parker, C.J., and Bolin, Shaw, Wise, Bryan, Sellers, Mendheim, and Stewart, JJ., concur) affirms the Jefferson Circuit Court’s dismissal of an action filed by Mike Williamson against Patrick Watson and Muhammad Wasim Sadiq Ali.

The Court notes that “[t]he trial court did not acquire personal jurisdiction until Williamson filed and served an amended complaint naming both men as defendants in this case – but he did not do that until June 2020, which the trial court held was well after the limitations periods on his tort claims had expired.” Ms. **11-12. The Court reiterates its holding in a prior appeal involving these parties that Watson and Ali were not properly served with the original complaint in this action. Ms. *11.

The Court explains further that “[t]he text of Rule 4 thus leaves no room for the possibility, theorized by Williamson, that service of a complaint in one action can somehow substitute for or subsume service of another complaint in a different action. Ms. **11-12. To emphasize this point, the Court cites federal authorities holding “‘it is well established that consent to personal jurisdiction in one case does not waive the right to assert lack of personal jurisdiction in another case in that same forum.’” Alkanani v. Aegis Def. Servs., LLC, 976 F. Supp. 2d 13, 37, n. 10 (D.D.C. 2014); see also, e.g., Klinghoffer v. S.N.C. Achille Lauro Ed Altri-Gestione Motonave Achille Lauro in Amministrazione Straordinaria, 937 F.2d 44, 50, n. 5 (2d Cir. 1991) (“A party’s consent to jurisdiction in one case, however, extends to that case alone. It in no way opens that party up to other lawsuits in the same jurisdiction in which consent was given ....’” Ms. *12, n. 5.

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