South-Western Legal Studies in Business

Service of Process Must Be Shown to Be Proper for Trial to Proceed
Description Appeals court held that a trial verdict for the plaintiff could not stand because when the defendant challenged the adequacy of service of process, competent evidence was not provided to show that service had met state law requirements.
Topic Court Procedure
Key Words Service of Process; Adequacy; Hearsay
C A S E   S U M M A R Y
Facts Burden sued Copco for injuries sustained in an auto accident. Copco defended that there was inadequate service. Oregon law allows a defendant to be served by delivering a true copy of the summons and complaint to any person 14 years of age or older residing in the dwelling or usual place or residence of the person to be served. Copco contended that never occurred. The trial court held for plaintiff. Defendant appealed.
Decision

Reversed. Sufficient service of process was not shown by competent evidence. When service is questioned, competent service must be shown. The plaintiff only offered an unsworn statement from the process server stating that service had been completed properly. That is hearsay, not competent evidence, so the presumption is that adequate service never occurred. The matter may not proceed unless proper service can be established.

Citation Burden v. Copco Refrigeration,--- P.3d --- (2004 WL 1058814, Ct. App., Ore., 2004)

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