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Olin Corp. v. Haney - 245 So. 2d 669 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 1971)


Normally, where service is to be made by personal delivery the papers must be delivered into the hand or onto the person of the one to be served. Where, however, the person to be served flees from the presence of the process server in a deliberate attempt to avoid service of process, the delivery requirement of that part of Fla. Stat. ch. 48.031 (1969) reading as follows: "Service of original process is made by delivering a copy thereof to the person to be served with a copy of the complaint," may be satisfied if the process server leaves the papers at a place from which such person can easily retrieve them and takes reasonable steps to call such delivery to the attention of the person to be served. 


On the evening of October 12, 1970, Mrs. Doris Derum was visiting at the home of defendants Mr. and Mrs. Russell Haney. Sometime about midnight, Mrs. Derum left the Haney residence and walked down the walkway. Deputy Sheriff Trainum emerged from his vehicle, identified himself to the two women as a Deputy Sheriff with the Sheriff's Department. Mrs. Haney ran back to the front door, hollering "No, No!." The Deputy Sheriff went to the closed front door and identified himself and read the Summons in a loud voice, and then advised in a loud voice that he was leaving a copy of the Complaint and Summons for RUSSELL R. HANEY, and that he was leaving a copy of said Complaint and Summons with RUSSELL R. HANEY as service upon Mrs. Haney. The Deputy Sheriff was within five to 20 feet of Mrs. Haney before she re-entered her home. The next day, Mrs. Derum returned to the Haney residence, where she found the papers on the front doorstep and took them inside to the Haney home. When Mrs. Derum informed Mr. Haney that the papers were from the Olin Corporation, he instructed her to take them back to the office. The Haneys sought to quash the service of process on Mrs. Haney, one of two defendants in the trial court. The trial court quashed the service of process on Mrs. Wava B. Haney upon concluding that substituted service of process as permitted by F.S.1969, section 48.031, F.S.A. was not achieved for the reason that the deputy sheriff did not, when leaving the papers at Mrs. Haney's usual place of abode, inform anyone of their contents. Olin Corporation appealed.


Was there a valid service of process by personal delivery served on defendant wife where the deputy sheriff left the papers, which summoned defendant husband, on the doorstep of defendants husband and wife after the wife fled from the deputy's presence in a deliberate attempt to avoid service and the deputy read the summons in a loud voice while standing outside the residence?




The Court of Appeal of Florida agreed that substituted service was not accomplished. The Court, however, held the deputy sheriff had made a sufficient delivery of the papers to appellee wife to effect valid service of process by personal delivery. When appellee fled from the presence of the deputy sheriff in a deliberate attempt to avoid service, the delivery requirement of the statute was satisfied when the deputy sheriff left the papers on appellee's doorstep. Accordingly, the Court reversed the order quashing service of process and remanded with direction for the deputy sheriff to amend its return to show personal service.

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