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Moss v. City of Arnold

United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division

April 8, 2015

REBECCA MOSS, Plaintiff,
v.
CITY OF ARNOLD, MATTHEW UNREIN, and WILLIAM MORITZ, Defendants.

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

DAVID D. NOCE, Magistrate Judge.

This action is before the court on the motion of defendant William Moritz to quash service of process and to dismiss him as a defendant for lack of personal jurisdiction. (Doc. 22.)

I. BACKGROUND

Plaintiff filed this case in the Circuit Court of Jefferson County on July 10, 2014. (Doc. 1-1.) The case was then removed to this court on July 15, 2014 pursuant to federal question jurisdiction, an alleged violation of 42 U.S.C. ยง 1983. (Doc. 1.) On October 17, 2014 this court ordered plaintiff to promptly serve defendant William Moritz. (Doc. 16.) On November 14, 2014, notification was filed with this court that Moritz's adult daughter, Daina Moritz, was served on November 13, 2014 in Arnold, Missouri. (Doc. 19.)

Defendant Moritz filed a motion to quash service of process and dismiss Counts V and VI of the complaint for lack of personal jurisdiction. (Doc. 1-4.) Included with this motion was an affidavit from defendant Moritz's daughter Daina Moritz. This affidavit stated:

Daina Moritz resides at 3167 Theodore Drive, Arnold, Missouri and that defendant Moritz, her father, does not reside there. Daina Moritz informed the individual who served her that her father did not reside there and that defendant Moritz currently resides outside the United States. The process server indicated he knew that defendant Moritz resided outside the United States. Furthermore, Daina Moritz stated that at no time did William Moritz authorize her to accept service on his behalf.

(Doc. 22-1.)

II. MOTION TO QUASH

Defendant Moritz moves to quash service of process due to insufficiency of service. He argues that because he resides outside the United States service must satisfy Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 4(f) and not 4(e). (Doc. 23.)

III. LEGAL STANDARD

In order for this court to assert personal jurisdiction over a defendant "the procedural requirement of service of summons must be satisfied." Omni Capital Int'l v. Rudolf Wolff & Co., 484 U.S. 97, 104 (1987). "Service of summons is the procedure by which a court having venue and jurisdiction of the subject matter of the suit asserts jurisdiction over the person of the party served." Williams v. Chase Home Finance, LLC, No. 4:12 CV 1803 JAR, 2013 WL 3282878, at * 2 (E.D. Mo. June 27, 2013) (quoting Omni Capital Int'l, 484 U.S. at 104). The rules regarding service of process are to be construed liberally. The burden of proving that service was insufficient lies with the party challenging the validity of service. Allstate Ins. Co. v. Chante Bass, No. 4:11 CV 1910 JAR, 2014 WL 2765286, at *1 (E.D. Mo. June 18, 2014). If service of process is ineffective the district "court has discretion to either dismiss the action, or quash service but retain the case." Marshall v. Warwick, 155 F.3d 1027, 1032-33 (8th Cir. 1998); Williams, 2013 WL 3282878, at *2.

IV. DISCUSSION

Dwelling or Usual Place of Abode

Individuals who are located within a judicial district of the United ...


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