Jordache White and American Transport, LLC, and Canal Insurance Company, Appellants-Defendants,
George Reimer, Appellee-Plaintiff.
from the St. Joseph Superior Court Trial Court Cause No.
71D06-1109-CT-191 The Honorable David C. Chapleau, Judge
Attorneys for Appellants Andrew S. Williams Hunt Suedhoff
Kalamaros, LLP Fort Wayne, Indiana Deborah A. Kapitan Kopka
Pinkus Dolin, PC Crown Point, Indiana
Attorneys for Appellee Daniel H. Pfeifer Jerome W. McKeever
Pfeifer, Morgan & Stesiak South Bend, Indiana
of the Case
Jordache White, American Transport LLC ("American
Transport"), and Canal Insurance Company
("Canal") (collectively, "the
Appellants") appeal the trial court's decision to
deny their joint motion to set aside default judgment. The
Appellants raise the following issues for our review:
1. Whether the trial court lacked jurisdiction over White due
to allegedly insufficient service of process.
2. Whether the trial court lacked jurisdiction over American
Transport due to allegedly insufficient service of process.
and Procedural History
On January 31, 2010, George Reimer and Jordache White were
involved in a motor vehicle collision in Wayne County,
Indiana. At the time, White was operating a semi-tractor
within the scope of his employment for American Transport. As
a result of the collision, Reimer sustained six fractured
ribs, a fractured sternum, and torn ligaments in his left
knee. He incurred $93, 574.67 in medical bills and $20, 800
in lost wages. Accordingly, on September 8, 2011, Reimer
filed a complaint against White and American Transport for
$750, 000 in damages. White is not an Indiana resident and
American Transport is not an Indiana company.
On September 16, Reimer, through his counsel, attempted to
serve White at a residential address, in Thebes, Illinois,
that White had provided to Indiana law enforcement following
the January 31 collision. According to three entries in the
trial court's chronological case summary
("CCS"): "Defendant Jordache White was served
by confirmed delivery [at that address on] 09/16/11.
Defendant Jordache White was not served by confirmed delivery
refused. Not deliverable as addressed. Defendant Jordache
White was served by confirmed delivery 09/16/11."
Appellants' App. at 7. Due to that obvious confusion in
the CCS, on September 23 the clerk of the court called Reimer
and confirmed that the court file contained a signed return
receipt for White at his Thebes, Illinois, address, although
that receipt had been signed by a third party, Rhonda Powell.
Following the clerk's information, on November 21 Reimer
filed a praecipe for summons for White to be served through
the Indiana Secretary of State by certified mail at the same
residential address in Illinois.
On December 5, Reimer attempted service on American Transport
at Route 1, Box 1877, Patton, Missouri, the address provided
by White to Indiana law enforcement following the collision.
Reimer's attempted service on American Transport was
returned undeliverable as addressed. On January 20, 2012, he
filed a praecipe for summons on American Transport to be
served through the Secretary of State by certified mail at
that same address. On February 22, the Secretary of State
issued an affidavit that stated that the summons on American
Transport was returned undeliverable as addressed. On
February 24, Reimer's summons on White was also returned
by the Secretary of State as undeliverable as addressed.
Reimer filed a motion for default judgment on September 5.
Thereafter, the trial court entered judgment against White
and American Transport for $750, 000. Reimer filed a verified
motion in proceedings supplemental against White and American
Transport on March 5, 2013, which was also returned as
undeliverable. Reimer then learned that White had recently
moved to an address in Cairo, Illinois.
Reimer served the proceedings supplemental on White at
White's Cairo address, and White called Reimer soon
thereafter. Reimer asked White if White knew American
Transport's whereabouts. White stated that American
Transport operated out of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. However,
when Reimer attempted to serve the proceedings supplemental
at an address for an American Transport business in
Pittsburgh, a representative of that business responded and
informed Reimer that he had the wrong American Transport
business. The representative provided an address for another
American Transport business located in Farmington, Missouri.
But when Reimer attempted to serve the proceedings
supplemental at that address, that mailing was returned as
On November 26, Reimer hired two private investigators to
find American Transport. Neither located American Transport,
but one did locate American Transport's apparent
insurance carrier, Canal. Accordingly, on February 3, 2015,
Reimer served the proceedings supplemental on Canal as a
garnishee-defendant. On August 24, White and Canal filed a
joint motion to set aside default judgment under Indiana
Trial Rule 60(B)(6), which the trial court denied. This
The Appellants contend that the trial court lacked
jurisdiction to enter default judgment against White and
American Transport due to insufficient service of process.
Therefore, they argue that the judgment is void under Indiana
Trial Rule 60(B)(6). Trial Rule 60(B)(6) provides that a
court may relieve a party from a default judgment when the
judgment is void. "In Indiana, 'whether the judgment
is void turns on whether the defendant was served with
process effective for that purpose under the Ind[iana] Rules
of Procedure.'" Anderson v. Wayne Post 64,