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National Equipment Rental, Ltd. v. Szukhent

United States Supreme Court
375 U.S. 311 (1964)


Facts

In 1961, Szukhent (defendant) executed a lease with National Equipment Rental, Ltd. (National) (plaintiff) for the rental of farm equipment. The document was a 1.5 page form lease consisting of 18 numbered paragraphs. The final paragraph in the document assigned Florence Weinberg, an officer at National, as an agent for the purposes of accepting service under the agreement. Szukhent did not know Weinberg, but signed the lease, indicating he agreed with the terms. One year later, National brought suit against Szukhent, alleging that Szukhent had failed to make any payments on the lease. National served Weinberg with the summons and complaint as the agent assigned to Szukhent under the lease, and Weinberg promptly notified Szukhent of the service; National also notified Szukhent that Weinberg had accepted service. Szukhent filed a motion to quash the service, and the district court granted the motion, finding that the agency arrangement between Szukhent and Weinberg was faulty. The court of appeals affirmed, and the United States Supreme Court granted certiorari.

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Dissent (Brennan, J.)

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