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Monday, December 01, 2008

Ind. Decisions - 7th Circuit on service of process

In a 16-page Illinois decision today, U.S. v. Ligas, the panel splits 2-1 on the question of whether service of process was properly effectuated. Judge Sykes writes:

Lawrence Ligas appeals the district court’s grant of summary judgment to the government for $319,883.60 in unpaid taxes, interest, and penalties. Although Ligas raises multiple arguments in support of reversal, we need only consider one: lack of personal jurisdiction. The government never properly served Ligas. It sought multiple extensions of time to effectuate service, asserting that if the case was dismissed for lack of personal jurisdiction, it could not be refiled because the statute of limitations had expired. After giving the government nearly a year to serve Ligas, the district court dismissed the govern- ment’s complaint for failure to serve process as required under Rule 4 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. * * *

Ligas was never properly served, and the court’s decision to reconsider and vacate the Rule 4(m) dismissal order and reinstate the complaint was based on a legally erroneous conclusion that Ligas’s motion to quash waived his objec- tion to personal jurisdiction. Accordingly, we REVERSE the judgment of the district court and REMAND the case to the district court with instructions to dismiss the complaint.

[Judge Evans' dissent begins on p. 14.]

Posted by Marcia Oddi on December 1, 2008 12:38 PM
Posted to Ind. (7th Cir.) Decisions