Gardina v. Aronowitz

899 So. 2d 1248 (2005)

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Gardina v. Aronowitz

Florida District Court of Appeal
899 So. 2d 1248 (2005)

Facts

George Gardina (plaintiff) filed a personal-injury action against Karene Aronowitz (defendant) for injuries resulting from an automobile accident. At the time of the accident, Aronowitz provided Gardina with a Florida address. However, when Gardina attempted to effect service-of-process on Aronowitz at the provided address, Gardina discovered Aronowitz had moved to Georgia. Accordingly, as permitted by statute, Gardina effected service-of-process on Aronowitz via substituted-service on the Florida Secretary of State. Although Gardina failed to send the required contemporaneous copy of the summons and complaint to Aronowitz, Gardina did send Aronowitz a copy of the receipt-of-service Gardina received from the secretary. Aronowitz filed a motion-to-quash service-of-process, arguing that substituted-service was inappropriate; the court never held a hearing on Aronowitz’s motion. Several weeks later, after the 120-day statutory service-of-process deadline expired, Gardina personally served process on Aronowitz in Georgia. Gardina then filed a motion asking the court to either (1) validate the original substituted-service; or (2) classify the subsequent personal-service as timely by granting a retroactive extension of the 120-day service-of-process deadline. Instead, the trial court dismissed Gardina’s action, holding that (a) the original substituted-service was defective; and (b) the subsequent personal-service was untimely. Gardina appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Farmer, C.J.)

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