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The Three Million Dollar Question: Are Method of Service and Proof of Service Synonymous?

Western District Court of Appeals finds that Plaintiffs Failed to Prove Proper Service Upon Insurer Before Taking Default Judgment

On April 29, 2014, the Missouri Court of Appeals affirmed a Boone County trial judge’s order setting aside a three million dollar default judgment more than two years after the default judgment was entered. The Plaintiffs, Ray Charles and Sue Bate, were parties injured in a motor vehicle accident. They sued the insurer of Ray Charles Bates’ employer, Greenwich, alleging that he was entitled to underinsured motorist benefits under the employer’s policy. Plaintiffs attempted to serve Greenwich pursuant to the process set forth in R.S.Mo. §375.906. A sheriff served a copy of the Plaintiff’s lawsuit against Greenwich upon an agent of the Missouri Department of Insurance. That agent then mailed the lawsuit to Greenwich using regular, first class mail which did not provide any verification that Greenwich would be actually served with the lawsuit. Read more