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Wells Fargo Bank NA v. Ngy

Washington Court of Appeals, Division I
No. 67240-1-1 (2012)


Facts

Theary Ngy (defendant) financed a car through Wells Fargo Bank NA (coplaintiff). Ngy filled out the loan paperwork using her brother’s address, where she lived at the time. Two years later, she had moved out of her brother’s house into an apartment. Ngy contacted the bank when she could no longer make the loan payments and provided her new address. The bank sent a tow truck to her apartment and repossessed the car. The car sold at auction for less the outstanding loan balance, and the bank sued Ngy to collect the difference. But the investigator that the bank hired to find and serve Ngy could not locate her. Instead, the process server left two copies of the complaint at Ngy’s brother’s house and mailed two copies to Ngy, again using her brother’s address. Ngy never responded, and the court entered a default judgment against her. The bank assigned the judgment to JPRD Investments, LLC (JPRD) (coplaintiff). Ngy learned about the judgment against her when JPRD garnished her bank account to collect it. Ngy moved to vacate the default judgment, arguing the bank never properly served her. The trial court refused to vacate the judgment, reasoning that the personal service on Ngy at her brother’s house failed, but mail service there sufficed because she still received mail there. Ngy appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Leach, C.J.)

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