Denial of Receipt of Service Without Specific Facts Insufficient to Overcome Presumptive Validity of Affidavit of Service

On May 22, 2024, the Second Department issued a decision in US Bank, N.A. v. Knight, 2024 NY Slip Op. 02837, holding that the denial of receipt of service without specific facts insufficient to overcome the presumptive validity of and affidavit of service, explaining:

A process server’s affidavit of service constitutes prima facie evidence of proper service. Although a defendant’s sworn denial of receipt of service generally rebuts the presumption of proper service established by the process server’s affidavit and necessitates an evidentiary hearing, no hearing is required where the defendant fails to swear to specific facts to rebut the statements in the process server’s affidavits. The sworn denial of receipt of service must be a detailed and specific contradiction of the allegations in the process server’s affidavit.

Here, the process server’s affidavit of service reflects that Gowe was served pursuant to CPLR 308(2) on May 31, 2022, by delivery of the summons and complaint to a person of suitable age and discretion at the Utica address, which was the address listed on Gowe’s current driver license, followed by the required mailing to the same address. Gowe’s unsupported averment that he did not reside at the Utica address at the time of service was insufficient to rebut the presumption of proper service created by the process server’s affidavit. Accordingly, the Supreme Court properly denied that branch of the defendants’ motion which was pursuant to CPLR 3211(a)(8) to dismiss the complaint insofar as asserted against Gowe for lack of personal jurisdiction.

(Internal quotations and citations omitted).

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