McCord v Larsen, 132 A.D.3d 1115, 18 N.Y.S.3d 458 [3rd Dept., 2015]
Plaintiff alleged that she was injured in a building owned by the defendant, due to a defective porch railing. She sued, and claimed to have served the summons by deliver-and-mail (CPLR 308 ). The defendant did not answer, and judgment by default was obtained against him.
He now moved to vacate the default judgment on the grounds that he had not received the summons and complaint in time to defend, and to dismiss the action for lack of jurisdiction. Supreme Court denied both branches of the motion.
The first question must be the jurisdictional one, since if there is no personal jurisdiction the judgment is void. The first step in deliver-and-mail service is delivery to a person of suitable age and discretion at the defendant’s actual place of business, dwelling place, or usual place of abode. The delivery in this case was made to the defendant’s ex-wife, at her residence in the Town of Blooming Grove, Orange County. The defendant had moved out long before the delivery, and claimed that he had moved his business from that address as well. However, the plaintiff showed proof that he advertised his business from that address, and had not changed the address with either the Postal Service or DMV. Delivery was therefore held to have been validly made, and jurisdiction properly upheld.