Last month, a state appellate court issued a written opinion highlighting the importance of complying with all of the procedural requirements in a South Florida personal injury lawsuit. Ultimately, the court determined that the plaintiff did effectuate proper service on the government defendant and rejected the defendant’s appeal. However, the case should serve as a warning to would-be plaintiffs that even a single misstep may result in the dismissal of an otherwise meritorious case.
The Facts of the Case
The plaintiff was involved in an accident with a school bus. Believing the accident to be the fault of the school bus driver, the plaintiff filed a personal injury lawsuit against the driver of the bus as well as the school district that employed the driver. The plaintiff claimed that the school bus driver was negligent in operating the bus and that the school district was negligent in hiring the driver.
As is required under state law, the plaintiff set out to serve the defendants. The plaintiff hired a process-server, who went to the school district’s main building and inquired where he could deliver the service documents. The front-desk attendant directed the process-server to the HR department. Once at the HR department, the process-server met with the receptionist to the Deputy Superintendent. The receptionist called her superior, who instructed her to accept the service and said that she would come by later to pick it up. The process-server left the documents with the receptionist.
Before the case reached trial, the school district asked the court to dismiss the case. The district argued that the plaintiff never effectuated proper service. Specifically, the district argued that the law required the plaintiff to serve the “chief executive officer or clerk thereof,” and the receptionist with whom the process-server left the service documents was not the clerk of the chief executive officer.
The court rejected the school district’s argument, explaining that the district failed to present any evidence indicating that the wrong party was served. The court explained that when a defendant claims that service was improper, the burden rests with the defendant to explain why. Here, the school district summarily concluded that the receptionist was the wrong party without offering any evidence or analysis as to why that was the case. As a result, the court determined that the school district did not meet its burden in proving that service was improper.
Have You Been Injured in a South Florida Accident?
If you or a loved one has recently been injured in any kind of South Florida school bus accident, you may be entitled to monetary compensation. As the case above illustrates, there are many procedural requirements that are strictly construed when filing a South Florida personal injury case, and a plaintiff’s failure to comply can significantly delay the resolution of their case. In some cases, a failure to comply may even result in a dismissal. The skilled personal injury attorneys at the South Florida law firm of Friedman, Rodman & Frank have decades of collective experience handling all types of personal injury claims, and they know what it takes to be successful on behalf of their clients. Call 877-448-8585 to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case with an attorney today.
More Blog Posts:
Florida Appellate Court Determines Water Company May Be Liable in Slip-and-Fall Case, South Florida Personal Injury Lawyers Blog, published May 4, 2017.
State Court of Appeals Invalidates Nursing Home Arbitration Contract, South Florida Personal Injury Lawyers Blog, published April 13, 2017.