Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Davis v. Shelter Insurance

Court of Appeals of Arkansas, Division IV

December 6, 2017

EARVIN DAVIS, JR. APPELLANT
v.
SHELTER INSURANCE a/k/a SHELTER MUTUAL INSURANCE COMPANY, a/k/a SHELTER GENERAL INSURANCE COMPANY APPELLEES

         APPEAL FROM THE WASHINGTON COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT [NO. 72CV-15-2126] HONORABLE JOHN C. THREET, JUDGE.

          Osborne Law Firm, by: Ken Osborne, for appellant.

          Roy, Lambert, Lovelace, Bingaman & Wood, LLP, by: James Bingaman and Jerry L. Lovelace, for appellees.

          RITA W. GRUBER, CHIEF JUDGE.

         Earvin Davis, Jr., appeals the Washington County Circuit Court's dismissal of his lawsuit for underinsured-motorist benefits for a January 3, 2012 motor-vehicle accident with A ndrea Johnson in Springdale, Arkansas. After receiving the maximum policy limitation from Ms. Johnson's insurance carrier, USAA, Mr. Davis filed his initial suit against his own insurance carrier. On September 30, 2015, that action was nonsuited. On November 12, 2015, he filed the present action, styled "Earvin Davis, Jr. v. Shelter Insurance a/k/a Shelter Mutual Insurance Company, a/k/a Shelter General Insurance Company." On October 28, 2016, Shelter Insurance a/k/a Shelter Mutual Insurance Company, a/k/a Shelter General Insurance Company filed a motion to dismiss or, alternatively, motion for summary judgment. The motion alleged that the summons was void for lack of strict compliance with Arkansas Rule of Civil Procedure 4 and that the attempted service was improper and insufficient pursuant to Rule 12(b)(5). On January 6, 2017, the circuit court entered its order dismissing Mr. Davis's complaint with prejudice "as against the named defendants, Shelter Insurance, Shelter Mutual Insurance Company, and Shelter General Insurance Company."

         Mr. Davis now appeals. He contends that the circuit court erred in dismissing his case for three reasons: (1) the summons was not defective, and an officer of the company was properly served; (2) the court did not have jurisdiction to dismiss a nonparty; and (3) the original responsive pleading did not raise a sufficiency-of-service argument. Appellees, Shelter Mutual Insurance Company and Shelter General Insurance Company, respond that the circuit court did not err in granting the motion to dismiss. We affirm.

         I. Whether the Summons Was Defective and an Officer of the Company Was Properly Served

         Mr. Davis first contends that the summons was not defective and that an officer of the company was properly served. A circuit court acquires no jurisdiction over a defendant unless the plaintiff strictly complies with service-of-process rules. Union Pac. R.R. Co. v. Skender, 2016 Ark.App. 206, at 3, 489 S.W.3d 176, 178. Strict compliance specifically applies to the technical requirements of a summons, and a defendant's personal knowledge of the litigation will not cure a fatal defect in the summons. Id. We review a circuit court's factual conclusions regarding service of process under a clearly-erroneous standard, and when dismissal is a matter of law, conduct a de novo review of the record. Id.

         The summons that was issued in this case reads in its entirety as follows:

         (Image Omitted.)

         Arkansas Rule of Civil Procedure 4, which governs the form of a summons, provides in relevant part:

(b) Form. The summons shall be styled in the name of the court and shall be dated and signed by the clerk; be under the seal of the court; contain the names of the parties; be directed to the defendant; state the name and address of the plaintiff's attorney, if any, otherwise the address of the plaintiff; and the time within which these rules require the defendant to appear, file a pleading, and defend and shall notify him that in case of his failure to do so, judgment by default may be entered against him for the relief demanded in the complaint.

Ark. R. Civ. P. 4(b) (2017).

         Rule 4(d) governs personal service inside the State of Arkansas, and Rule 4(e) allows personal delivery in the same manner for outside-of-state service that is authorized by our law and is reasonably calculated to give actual notice. A copy of the summons and complaint "shall be served together." Ark. R. Civ. P. 4(d). Service upon a domestic or foreign corporation is to be made by delivering a copy of the summons and complaint to an officer, partner other than a limited partner, ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.