Vice Chancellor Denies Motion for Default Judgment in Estate Case

Delaware Fiduciary Litigation Blog

Posted November 1, 2018

Marc N. Arot v. Jacqueline A. Lanardi, et. al., C.A. No. 12915-VCZ (October 29, 2018)

       The successor administrator of an estate sued to recover money that the former executrix allegedly owes to the estate. After a lengthy period went by with no answer filed, the successor administrator sought a default judgement. But the defendant countered by stating that she had never been properly served as the addresses used were not current ones and she had never signed for any service.

       The successor administrator, as the petitioner, had the burden to show that service of process was effective. The successor administrator did serve the Register of Wills, but the Court explained that did not complete service. The Court explained that following service on the Register, “the Register must also ‘forward forthwith, by certified mail, return receipt required, to the address of such executor . . . any notices or process served upon the Register.’” Neither the successor administrator nor the Register provided evidence that proper service was made on the defendant. As such, the Vice Chancellor denied the motion for default.


William M. Kelleher, Director
Gordon, Fournaris & Mammarella, P.A.