The Best Defense Requires Litigating On The Merits

Law360, New York (February 9, 2015, 1:21 PM EST) -- In Giorgio v. Synergy Management Group LLC, the California Court of Appeal held in a published opinion that service by publication was proper for John Giorgio after Synergy Management Group LLC repeatedly attempted to serve Giorgio at his Los Angeles address. The key finding by the trial court that weighed heavily with the Court of Appeals was that Giorgio "made a deliberate tactical decision to not respond to this matter." On appeal, Giorgio did not argue that he was unaware of the underlying litigation, that he had any meritorious defense to the allegations in the operative pleading, or that he intended to litigate this case on the merits if given the opportunity. Instead, Giorgio argued that his due process rights were somehow violated by service by publication because he purportedly lived "somewhere in Europe" and therefore could not be deemed to have actual notice by service by publication in a Los Angeles newspaper. This, despite the fact that Giorgio was personally served with the original complaint in the underlying action and had actual notice that the first amended complaint was served via publication. As a result, Giorgio consciously chose to disregard the suit, thereby running the tactical risk that judgment would be entered against him....

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