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Law School Case Brief

Grace v. MacArthur - 170 F. Supp. 442 (E.D. Ark. 1959)

Rule:

For service purposes, the passengers on a commercial aircraft are within the territorial limits of the State over which the plane happens to be flying at a particular time.

Facts:

Plaintiffs sued for breach of contract against defendants insurance company and two other defendant individuals, one of whom was a citizen of Illinois, the other a citizen of Tennessee. Service on one of the individual defendants was attempted under Arkansas law, which authorized service on the Secretary of State for the State of Arkansas with respect to any non-resident person. Service on the other individual defendant was personally delivered to him while defendant was a passenger on an airplane in airspace over Arkansas. Both individual defendants moved to quash the service. The court held that the service was served on one defendant while within the territorial limits of the State of Arkansas.

Issue:

Was there proper service on one of the defendants while on an airplane in airspace over Arkansas?

Answer:

Yes.

Conclusion:

The court denied one defendant's motion to quash because at the time the summons was served, the plane and defendant were within the "territorial limits" of the State of Arkansas, but the court reserved ruling until the trial on the other defendant's motion to quash.

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