Sol Melia, S.A. v. Fontana – substitute service insufficient

In Sol Melia, S.A. v. Fontana, the 3rd DCA ruled that the Plaintiffs attempts to serve the Defendant, a foreign corporation, through it’s U.S. Based subsidiary did not satisfy the requirements of Florida’s Substitute Service Statute, s. 48.081(2).

Fontana filed suit against Sol Melia after she allegedly slipped and broke her hip entering a jacuzzi at a resort run by a Sister company of Sol Melia.

Sol Melia is a Spanish corporation wit it’s principal place of business in Spain. Sol Melia owns Sol Group, B.V. a holding company for Sol Group. Sol Group is a Corporation based out of Miami, FL.

After filing suit, Fontana attempted to serve Sol Melia by serving Sol Group. Sol Melia then filed a motion to quash service of process.

The 3rd DCA held that it was insufficient to merely show that Sol Group was a subsidiary of Sol Melia. The Court held that substitute service is only permitted where the parent corporation exercised such a degree of control over it’s subsidiaries that the subsidiary was essentially an alter ego of the parent.

Sol Melia, S.A. v. Fontana, Case No.  3D11-602 (Fla. 3d DCA Aug. 31, 2011)