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It is not necessary that express authority to receive service of process be shown. The law of the state may designate an agent upon whom service may be made, if he be one sustaining such relation to the company that the state may designate him for that purpose, exercising legislative power within the lawful bounds of due process of law.
Plaintiff's husband obtained life insurance from defendant insurer who was domiciled in Illinois. Plaintiff's husband died from a gunshot wound, and defendant demanded inspection of his body after being notified of his death. A doctor representing defendant was sent to Missouri, plaintiff's home state. Defendant's doctor was served a summons by plaintiff's representative. Defendant asserted that it had no business operations in Missouri and the doctor was not authorized to receive service for defendant. The circuit court determined that it had jurisdiction based on proper service. Defendant insurer sought review of the decision.
Was the service of summons in the instant case valid, thereby giving the court jurisdiction over the case?
The United States Supreme Court affirmed, holding that express authority to receive service of process was not required. A state law could designate an agent upon whom service could be made if the agent had a significant enough relationship with an entity to afford due process of law; thus, service on the doctor was proper.