History/Procedure: The tribunal for which The Peoples Trust Co. v. Kozuck case has been
written for is the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division. The defendants Saul and Elaine Kozuck, a
husband and wife signed a promissory note with the People’s Trust Company. The defendants
claim the note they signed with the bank was incorrectly filed with regards to
it’s due date. As a result, the defendants have refused to accept liability on
the note payable. Plaintiff has decided to sue the Kozucks on this promissory
Operative Facts: The People’s Trust bank issued a summons and
complaint and a process server was sent to the Kozucks in efforts to serve the
summons in person. John Zimmerman, the process server testified that at first when
he approached Mrs. Kozuck she verified her identity. However, when the process
server initiated contact informing her of his purpose for being at her
residence, Mrs Kozuck then denied her identity. She then refused to open the
door, so the process server left the complaint and summons on the stoop.
Question(s): Under the rules and regulations of New Jersey Law, R.R.4:4-4(a), service
of process is valid if the summons is delivered personally or by leaving a copy
at the individual’s home as long as a member of the family over the age of 14
or over is present. Does the summons and complaint that was delivered outside
of the house constitute as a personal service of process?
Holding: Yes. The court established
that personal service to the defendant was adequately met under the law and
ruled in favor of the plaintiff.
Disposition: The judgment of the
defendant is affirmed for refusing to accept the service of process when the
service is done under accordance of the law.
Reasoning of the
Court: The rule of law is that an individual is obligated to accept service of
process and cannot avoid it by physically refusing the summons. In this case,
Mrs. Kozuck was verbally made aware that the process server was conducting a
service of process, but physically tried to avoid this by refusing to open the
door and denying her identity. The process server verbally communicated her summons,
but when she refused to cooperate he left a copy at her home and at that point the
service of process was carried out efficiently. A process server is not required
to physically see a person to continue with the service of process. A service of
process can also be valid if a person denies their identity and refuses the summons,
as seen in the case of Roth v. W.I Cowan Inc. In the court case, Slaught v Robbins,
the defendant refused to listen to the summons being read to him. In Walkoczy v.
Bowers, the defendant also resisted the summons and closed the door. In Borden v.
Borden, the summons was left on the door handle after finding out the process server
was there. In precedent cases, the court ruled on the basis that the service of
process was valid and cannot be avoided.
Reasoning of the Concurrence(s):
Reasoning of the Dissent(s):
Your opinion on decision
and its significance (Optional) No comment.