Submitted: December 23, 2014
Upon Plaintiff's Motion to Deem Service Complete DENIED
HONORABLE ANDREA L. ROCANELLI
This lawsuit arises from a February 2013 car accident allegedly involving Plaintiff, Anthony Fiorelli, and Defendant, Yunmei Bai. Plaintiff filed a complaint on March 13, 2014. Plaintiff has filed a motion to deem service complete upon Defendant.
First Plaintiff attempted to serve Defendant at her last known address of 1205 Wharton Drive, Newark, Delaware 19711. However, the Sheriff returned the writ without service and filed the "non est inventus" with the Court stating that Defendant moved to 25 South Exeter Street, Baltimore, Maryland, 21202.
Second on June 16, 2014, Plaintiff attempted to serve Defendant in Baltimore pursuant to Delaware's long arm statute, codified at 10 Del. C. § 3104. Plaintiff sent a copy of the complaint to Defendant's Baltimore address via regular and certified mail on September 12 and September 23, 2014. The certified mailings returned to Plaintiff as "unclaimed."
Third Plaintiff filed a motion for enlargement of time to serve Defendant and a motion to appoint a special process server. The Court granted both motions. Plaintiff's special process server was unable to serve Defendant at the Baltimore address.
Finally, Plaintiff's special process server conducted a skip trace on Defendant. The results indicated that Defendant relocated to China. Based on the aforementioned facts, Plaintiff filed the pending motion to deem service complete. Plaintiff asserts that it "has done everything reasonably possible under the Rules to locate and serve [Defendant]."
Upon consideration of Plaintiff's motion, the Court finds as follows:
1. Defendant initiated this lawsuit and attempted to perfect service under the requirements of Delaware's long-arm statute.
2. Under the long-arm statute, the Court may exercise personal jurisdiction over any out-of-state resident, who in person, "causes a tortuous injury in the State . . . by an act or omission in this State."
3. In 2008, the General Assembly amended Delaware's long-arm statute to "create a less 'cumbersome' method to serve out-of-state residents."
4. The method of service must be "reasonably calculated to give the defendant actual notice, "and shall be made by one of the ...