Question: Jon Summervold purchased a remote controlled toy watercraft from the
Jon Summervold purchased a remote controlled toy watercraft from the Walmart store located in Aberdeen, South Dakota. The plaintiff sued Wal Mart, Inc. for alleged defective design and failure to warn that arose out of the trauma he suffered when the toy watercraft exploded when he was handling it. Nine days before the three year statute of limitations was to run on the plaintiff’s claim, the plaintiff had a process server serve his complaint and summons against Walmart. The process server served the complaint and summons on Josh Hehn, a Walmart assistant manager in charge of the apparel department at Walmart’s Aberdeen, South Dakota, store. The assistant manager and the manager of the store were physically available at the store at the time of service. South Dakota law requires that service of process be made on the president, officer, director, or registered agent of a defendant corporation. Walmart had designated a registered agent, whose name was publicly available at a state government office as required by law, to accept service of process for South Dakota lawsuits. Walmart challenged the plaintiff’s service of process on an assistant manager at a Walmart store rather than on its resident agent, asserting that the plaintiff’s service violated South Dakota’s statute for service of process against corporations. The three year statute of limitations on Summervold’s claim had run before Walmart’s challenge to the legality of the service of process was heard by the court. Has plaintiff properly served defendant Walmart? Sommervold v. Wal Mart, Inc., 709 F. 3d 1234, 2013 U. S. App. Lexis 4972 (United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit, 2013)
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