Williams vs. Patterson

When Monta Williams filed a personal injury action against Jerome Patterson after a car accident Mr. Patterson moved to have the case dismissed due to Williams’ failure to issue service of process after the statute of limitations had passed. Patterson’s dismissal was granted, but Williams appealed claiming that the court had erred for three reasons:

1.    In finding that he failed to exercise due diligence in serving Patterson.

2.    In failing to allow him 12 additional months to personally serve Patterson after serving him through publication.

3.    In allegedly failing to allow him to proceed against his uninsured motorist insurance after Patterson agreed to remain in the case as a nominal.

The accident occurred on November 19, 2006. Williams was a passenger in an automobile which collided with the automobile that Patterson was driving. Williams filed a personal injury action against Patterson in April of 2008, at this time there was 6 months before the statute o f limitations expired. Williams attempted to serve Patterson for the next 12 months, finally achieving successful service on March 30, 2009. The complaint was dismissed on April 8, 2009 and was renewed on April 16, 2009.

Williams made a serious effort to serve Patterson, yet was unable to perfect Service before October 24, 2009, at that time the statute of limitations expired. While it is common for service and process to take a while to accomplish, the statutes of limitations exist for a reason. The defendants even if served are able to have the case dismissed if they have not been served by the expiration of the statute of limitations.



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