Be advised of a strategy you may see from plaintiff’s lawyers in the future.
Be advised of a strategy you may see from plaintiff’s lawyers in the future. In SDE, Inc. v. Finley, A16A1705 (3/13/17) (Georgia Court of Appeals), the Court of Appeals of Georgia affirmed a default judgment against the corporate defendant. The court found that service upon the shift manager at the restaurant where the plaintiff allegedly fell and sustained injury constituted proper service on the defendant. The shift manager apparently did not forward the suit papers to the appropriate channels and the corporate defendant went into default and the trial court entered a significant default judgment against the corporate defendant.
The court ruled that in general, service upon a corporation must be made by showing delivery of the copy of the summons and complaint to the “president or other officer of such corporation,… managing agent thereof, or a registered agent thereof”. O.C.G.A. § 9-11-4 (e)(1)(B) defined a “managing agent” as “a person employed by a corporation…who is at an office or facility in this state and who has managerial or supervisory authority for such corporation.” The court found that the facts indicated that the shift manager had some supervisory responsibility for other employees and had some responsibility to handle customer complaints; therefore the trial court committed no error in ruling that service upon the shift manager complied with the applicable law and the appellate court affirmed the default judgment.
We saw in the past the occasional effort on the part of a plaintiff attorney to serve someone at a particular retail outlet, leasing office, or satellite office. It is perceived that the practice of doing that may be intended to create confusion and/or the possibility that such a local level person will not transmit the papers to the appropriate person for getting the suit answered. This recent case indicates that such practice is acceptable and it may be advisable to let field employees know of that potential.
For any questions, you can contact G. Randall Moody.