Erie Insurance Company V. Rigoberto Ventura, Et. Al.


H1: Civil Procedure > Pleadings > Service of Process > General Overview

Civil Procedure > Service of Process > Methods of Service > Service on Agents

Ohio R.C 2703.20 reads as follows: Any nonresident of this state, being the operator or owner of any motor vehicle, who accepts the privilege extended by the laws of this state to nonresident operators and owners, of operating a motor vehicle or of having the same operated, within this state, or any resident of this state, being the licensed operator or owner of any motor vehicle under the laws of this state, who subsequently becomes a nonresident or conceals his whereabouts, by such acceptance or licensure and by the operation of such motor vehicle within this state makes the secretary of state of the state of Ohio his agent for the service of process in any civil suit or proceeding instituted in the courts of this state against such operator or owner of such motor vehicle, arising out of, or by reason of, any accident or collision occurring within this state in which such motor vehicle is involved.

H2: Civil Procedure > Pleadings > Service of Process > General Overview

Under Ohio Civil Rules of Procedure 4.4(A), if the residence of a defendant is unknown, then service shall be made by publication in actions hwere such service is authorized by law. 

H3: Civil Procedure > Pleading & Practice > Pleadings > Rule Application & Interpretation

Due process is a fundamental requirement in any proceeding, to ensure that notice is given to interested parties of the pendency of the action and give them an opportunity to present their objections. 

Summary of Case

Procedural Posture: Plaintiff seeks default judgment against the Defendant, based upon Civil Rule 55.

Overview: Plaintiff attempted service by certified mail delivery, pursuant to Civil Rule 4(A) and (B). Mail service was attempted but was not completed. The Post Office was unable to forward the summons. Plaintiff’s counsel then requested service pursuant to O.R.C 2703.20, known as “Service of process upon nonresident owners or operators of motor vehicles.” 

Outcome:  The Court finds that the record is insufficient to determine whether Plaintiff properly invoked O.R.C 2703.20. As such, the Court denies Plaintiff’s pending motion for default judgment, pending submission of facts in support service of process pursuant to O.R.C 2703.20.