Monday, February 11, 2013

National Equipment Rental, Ltd. v. Szukhent case brief

National Equipment Rental, Ltd. v. Szukhent case brief summary
375 U.S. 311

SYNOPSIS: Petitioner equipment rental company sought certiorari review of a judgment from the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, which held that respondents were not properly serviced a summons to a lawsuit concerning a default on a lease under Fed. R. Civ. P. 4(d).

- Petitioner equipment rental company entered into a lease agreement with respondents for farm equipment.
-Respondents, residents of Michigan, defaulted on the lease and petitioner filed suit in its home state, New York. Pursuant to its contract agreement with respondents, petitioner served a summons upon respondent's agent in New York.
-The agent forwarded the summons and notified respondents of the underlying lawsuit.
-Respondents objected to this service of summons under Fed. R. Civ. P. 4(d), arguing that the agent was unknown to respondents and the agent has not expressly undertaken to transmit notice to the party.
-The district court quashed service of the summons and complaint, which was affirmed by the appellate court.

On certiorari review, the United States Supreme Court held that respondents had been properly served the summons for the lawsuit when the agent forwarded the summons to them, and they were aware of the lawsuit.

The Court also determined that the parties properly agreed to have the agent receive notice on behalf of respondents, and it was irrelevant that the agent was unknown to respondents.

OUTCOME: The Court reversed the judgment of the lower court, held that respondents were properly served notice of a lawsuit under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, and remanded the case for further proceedings.

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