Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Lambert v. Connolly Bove

Superior Court of Delaware

September 25, 2017

CURT LAMBERT and ZHUN LU, Plaintiffs,
v.
NOVAK DRUCE CONNOLLY BOVE AND QUIGG LLP, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION GRANTING PLAINTIFFS' MOTION FOR ENTRY OF JUDGMENT BY DEFAULT

          ERIC M. DAVIS, JUDGE

         Upon consideration of Plaintiffs' Motion for Entry of Judgment by Default (the "Motion") filed by Plaintiffs Curt Lambert and Zhun Lu; Defendant's Response in Opposition to Plaintiffs' Motion for Entry of Judgment by Default (the "Opposition") filed by Defendant Novak Druce Connolly Bove and Quigg LLP ("Novak Druce"); Affidavit of Jeffrey B. Bove, Esquire Provided in Support of (i) Defendant's Response in Opposition to Plaintiffs' Motion for Entry of Judgment by Default and (ii) Defendant's Factual Allegations Presented at the Hearing on that Motion ("Bove Affidavit"); Affidavit of Gregory Novak, Esquire Provided in Support of (i) Defendant's Response in Opposition to Plaintiffs' Motion for Entry of Judgment by Default and (ii) Defendant's Factual Allegations Presented at the Hearing on that Motion ("Novak Affidavit"); Affidavit of Joel Lutringer, Esquire Provided in Support of (i) Defendant's Response in Opposition to Plaintiffs' Motion for Entry of Judgment by Default and (ii) Defendant's Factual Allegations Presented at the Hearing on that Motion ("Lutringer Affidavit"); Answer to Complaint filed by Novak Druce; any and all exhibits attached to the Motion, the Opposition, the Bove Affidavit, the Lutringer Affidavit, the Novak Affidavit; the arguments presented in support of the Motion and the Opposition at the hearing held on May 22, 2017; the Order Requiring the Filing of Affidavits in Support of Defendant's Response in Opposition to Plaintiffs' Motion for Entry of Judgment by Default; a review of Civil Rule 12 and Civil Rule 55; the entire record of this civil action; and, for the reasons set forth below, the Motion is GRANTED.

         BACKGROUND

         General

         Mr. Lambert and Mr. Lu filed their Complaint on December 29, 2017. The Complaint seeks damages, in the form of unpaid compensation, from Novak Druce. The Complaint asserts four causes of action against Novak Druce. Mr. Lambert seeks recovery under 19 Del. C. § 1101 and, in the alternative, for breach of contract. Mr. Lu also seeks recovery under 19 Del. C. § 1101 and, in the alternative, for breach of contract.

         Novak Druce is a law firm that had an office in and transacted business in Delaware. Novak Druce is presently winding up its affairs, including closing offices while operating with just three employees. Two of these employees work from home. It is unclear where the third employee is located. No employees were located in Delaware

         Novak Druce once occupied an office in Houston. Polsinelli PC, a law firm, is now located in the same office space once occupied by Novak Druce. According to the Lutringer Affidavit, Polsinelli PC has instructed its employees not to accept mail addressed to Novak Druce. Mr. Novak, formerly one of the named partners of Novak Druce, is now a lawyer at Polsinelli PC.

         Novak Druce designated Jeffrey Bove to be its registered agent in Delaware. According to the Bove Affidavit, Mr. Bove never agreed to act as the registered agent of Novak Druce. Mr. Bove was formerly an attorney at Novak Druce. According to the Bove Affidavit and the Novak Affidavit, Novak Druce never authorized Mr. Bove to accept service of process.

         Service of the Complaint

         Pursuant to Civil Rule 4 and 10 Del. C. § 3103, Mr. Lambert and Mr. Lu first attempted service on Novak Druce by having the New Castle County Sheriff's Office (the "Sheriff") attempt personal service. The Sheriff attempted to serve Novak Druce at the address listed for its registered agent. The Sheriff did not successfully complete service of process. The Sheriff then filed a Non Est Inventus with the Court.

         On January 30, 2017, counsel for Mr. Lambert and Mr. Lu emailed a courtesy copy of the Complaint and Summons to Mr. Bove. Mr. Lambert and Mr. Lu represent that they took this step because Mr. Bove was listed as Novak Druce's registered agent with the Delaware Secretary of State. Mr. Bove told counsel for Mr. Lambert and Mr. Lu that he would not accept service of process of the Complaint and Summons.

         On January 31, 2017, the Sheriff thereafter attempted personal service of an Alias Summons on Novak Druce by serving that summons on Novak Druce's registered agent at the address of Mr. Bove's current employer. The Sheriff filed another Non Est Inventus, on February 15, 2017, stating that the Sheriff attempted to serve the Complaint and Alias Summons without success.

         Mr. Lambert and Mr. Lu then tried to serve a second Alias Summons on Novak Druce on February 21, 2017. Mr. Lambert and Mr. Lu served the second Alias Summons by Certified Mail Return Receipt Requested. Counsel for Mr. Lambert and Mr. Lu filed an affidavit of service of this second Alias Summons with the Court on April 7, 2017.

         As of June 15, 2017, Mr. Bove was still listed with the Delaware Division of Corporations as the registered agent of Novak Druce.

         The Motion

         Mr. Lambert and Mr. Lu filed the Motion on May 5, 2017. According to the Motion's certificate of service, Mr. Lambert and Mr. Lu served the Motion on (i) Novak Druce at their former office in Houston, TX (the office where Polsinelli PC currently reside and where Mr. Novak works); and (ii) Novak Druce, c/o Mr. Bove, at their former office in Wilmington, DE (where Mr. Bove currently resides as a lawyer in the Ratner Prestia firm).

         Novak Druce filed the Opposition on May 17, 2017. On May 19, 2017, Novak Druce filed the Answer to the Complaint.

         Claims of Mr. ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.