Samandar Reeckmann a/k/a Samandar Leaitu Reeckmann, Appellant-Defendant,
Clarence Wolfe, Jr. and Jan Wolfe, Appellees-Plaintiffs.
to Ind. Appellate Rule 65(D), this Memorandum Decision shall
not be regarded as precedent or cited before any court except
for the purpose of establishing the defense of res judicata,
collateral estoppel, or the law of the case.
from the Vanderburgh Superior Court The Honorable Leslie C.
Shively, Judge Trial Court Cause No. 82D01-1510-PL-5513
Attorneys for Appellant Dennis F. Cantrell Paul D. Mackowski
Cantrell Strenski & Mehringer, LLP Indianapolis, Indiana
Attorney for Appellees Robin R. Craig Evansville, Indiana.
On August 27, 2014, Appellee/Plaintiff Clarence Wolfe Jr. was
attacked by a dog while attempting to serve court documents
on behalf of the Vanderburgh County Sheriff's Department
at a residence located at 1501 South Grand Avenue in
Evansville. During the attack, Clarence suffered a bite to
the hand. At the time, the residence was owned by
Appellant/Defendant Samandar L. Reeckmann and was inhabited
by Jessica L. Hughes a/k/a Jessica L. Higginbottom. As a
result of the attack, Clarence lost the ability to use his
hand. Clarence also suffered lost wages and incurred medical
On October 27, 2015, Clarence and his wife, Jan Wolfe,
(collectively, "the Wolfes") filed suit against
Reeckmann and Higginbottom (collectively, "the
Defendants"). In addition to Clarence's damages
relating to Clarence's injuries, lost wages, and medical
expenses, the Wolfes also alleged that Jan had suffered loss
of consortium as a result of the bite and sought damages for
such. Neither of the Defendants responded to the Wolfes'
The Wolfes subsequently sought, and the trial court entered,
default judgment against the Defendants. On March 21, 2016,
the trial court entered judgment against the Defendants,
jointly and severally, in the amount of $36, 064.60, plus
costs. The trial court conducted a hearing on June 23, 2016,
to determine Reeckmann's ability to pay the default
judgment. Reeckmann appeared at this hearing. He did not
contest the trial court's jurisdiction over him at this
time and in fact entered into an agreed order of personal
garnishment. Approximately two and one-half months later, on
September 8, 2016, Reeckmann filed a motion to set aside the
default judgment, arguing for the first time that the trial
court lacked personal jurisdiction over him. The trial court
subsequently denied Reeckmann's motion.
On appeal, Reeckmann challenges the trial court's denial
of his motion to set aside the default judgment. In doing so,
Reeckmann argues that the trial court erred in finding that
it had personal jurisdiction over him. He also argues that
the trial court should have granted his motion to set aside
the default judgment because the requested relief was both
necessary and just. Concluding that the trial court properly
determined that it had personal jurisdiction over Reeckmann
and that Reeckmann's requested relief was not necessary
and would not be just, we affirm.
and Procedural History
In August of 2014, Clarence was under contract with the
Vanderburgh County Sheriff's Department to serve court
documents. On August 27, 2014, Clarence was working in this
capacity when he was attacked by a dog at a residence located
at 1501 South Grand Avenue in Evansville. During the attack,
Clarence suffered a bite to the hand. As a result of the
attack, Clarence lost the ability to use his hand. Clarence
also suffered lost wages and incurred medical expenses.
On the date in question, Reeckmann owned the residence
located at 1501 South Grand Avenue. It was inhabited by
Higginbottom, who is alleged to have owned the dog that
On October 27, 2015, the Wolfes filed suit against the
Defendants. The Wolfes' alleged that Clarence suffered
injuries "as a direct and proximate result of the
Defendants' careless and negligent acts or
omissions" when he was attacked by a dog which exhibited
"vicious propensities" during the discharge of his
duties. Appellant's App. Vol. II, p. 17. The Wolfes
sought damages relating to Clarence's injuries, lost
wages, and medical expenses. They also sought damages
relating to Jan's claimed loss of consortium.
The Wolfes used various methods in their attempts to serve
Reeckmann with notice of the lawsuit. The record indicates
that service was successful on two occasions. On November 24,
2015, Reeckmann was served with "personal" service
of an alias summons and a copy of the complaint by D.
McKnight of the Vanderburgh County Sheriff's Department.
Appellee's App. Vol. II, p. 4. On January 28, 2016,
Reeckmann was served with a "copy" of a second
alias summons and copy of the ...