Saturday, December 5, 2015

Defendant’s Name Must Appear on Face of Summons

The sample summons in Illinois Supreme Court Rule 101(d) requires “naming all defendants.” Illinois Supreme Court Rule 131(c) states that in multiple party cases, “it is sufficient in entitling documents, except a summons, to name the  . . . the first-named defendant with the usual indication of other parties (emphasis added).” So, what happens when a plaintiff files an action against several defendants, naming one defendant and adding the “et al” designation to each summons? Is the failure to include a defendant’s name in the caption of the summons a barrier to obtaining personal jurisdiction over that defendant even if the defendant is served? Arch Bay Holdings v. Perez (here), provides the answer.

Arch Bay filed a foreclosure action against a husband, wife, and other defendants. Each summons listed the husband by name followed by “et al.” The wife was served but did not appear. The court entered a default judgement against her. The trial court rejected the wife’s 2-1401 petition which claimed a lack of personal jurisdiction because her name did not appear on the summons. The Appellate Court, Second District, reversed.

The appellate court held that the model summons in Rule 101(d) requires that the names of all defendants appear in the caption of the summons. The fact that the wife’s name appeared on an attached list of defendants to be served did not cure the defect. And even thought the wife was served, “the missing name from the face of the summons was a barrier to obtaining personal jurisdiction” over her.

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