$371,635 Default Judgment Set Aside

Brad Hansmann and Dan Hunkins successfully convinced the Southern District Court of Appeals to affirm the trial court’s decision to set aside a $371,635.00 default judgment against their client. The client became aware of the default judgment when plaintiff began executing the judgment against its assets more than a year after it was entered. Given the length of time since the judgment was entered, the only argument to set it aside was to convince the trial court that it lacked personal jurisdiction over the defendant for lack of proper service. Brad and Dan argued that service of process on an office manager of a law firm where defendant’s registered agent worked, was not proper service under the statute. After obtaining favorable testimony from the process server, registered agent, office manager, and their own client, Brad and Dan successfully convinced the trial court that plaintiff failed to obtain proper service on their client, making the judgment void for lack of personal jurisdiction.  The Southern District Court of Appeals affirmed the decision, finding the trial court lacked personal jurisdiction over the defendant for lack of proper service, saving Brad and Dan’s client $371,635.00. Hood v. Hale Fireworks, LLC, 687 S.W.3d 196, 198 (Mo. Ct. App. 2024), transfer denied (Apr. 30, 2024).