TRY AGAIN DOBRONSKI: Michigan Court Found Improper Service As Basis To Set Aside Default

Hi TCPAWorld! The Baroness here with some quick news this morning.

Dobronski…oh Dobronski…

Attempted to obtain a default judgment on Family First Life, LLC (FFL) based on improper service. 

The Complaint and summons were delivered and signed “by someone” whose signature was not legible and there was no other indication on the receipt who signed it.

FFL’s counsel then sent a letter to Dobronski stating that service was improper and they would move for sanctions if Plaintiff attempted to claim otherwise. Nevertheless, Dobronski went ahead and requested and was granted a Clerk’s entry of default.

FFL moved to set aside the Clerk’s entry of default.

Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 4 controls the analysis here.

The Court found that Dobronski was obligated to serve FFL (a limited liability company) in compliance with Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 4. Rule 4(h) requires that a plaintiff make personal service on “an officer, a managing agent or general agent, or another agent authorized by appointment or by law to receive service of process.” The rule does not allow for service of process upon limited liability companies simply by mail.

Alternatively, Rule 4(e) (1) provides that service of process must “follow[ ] state law for serving a summons in an action brought in courts of general jurisdiction in the state where the district court is located” (in this case, Michigan) or “where service is made” (in this case, Connecticut).

Courts in the Eastern District of Michigan consistently have held that proper service in Michigan does not include service by mail only.

Courts in Connecticut require personal delivery of the complaint and summons to a company’s registered agent or certified mailing at the company’s principal office address when the “company ceased to have a registered agent, or if its registered agent cannot with reasonable diligence be served.”

Dobronski offered no argument as to why he could not serve FFL’s registered agent “with reasonable diligence.”

Therefore, the Court concluded that Dobronski did not properly serve FFL and the Clerk’s entry of default against FFL must be set aside.

A win here for FFL against serial litigator Dobronski. We love to see it.

Mark W. Dobronski v. Family First Life, LLC, et al., No. 22-12039, 2023 WL 1819150, at *1 (E.D. Mich. Feb. 8, 2023).


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