Estela v. Cavalcanti – Service by Publication Not Allowed When Defendant Provides Foreign Address for Service

 In this case, the plaintiff filed a motion to serve a defendant by publication.  The defendant specially appeared in the action and moved to quash the attempted service, claiming that the defendant was residing in Costa Rica.  Defense counsel provided the foreign address at the hearing.  The court denied the motion to quash and allowed service by publication.  Finding that courts should “strictly construe” service of process statutes, the appellate court reversed, holding that “service of process by publication . . . is only permitted when personal service cannot be obtained,” and here, “the trial court has not made a finding that the defendant was attempting to evade service.”  As a result, the plaintiff was required to at least attempt to serve the defendant at the foreign address provided to the plaintiff.

Estela v. Cavalcanti, 36Fla. L. Wkly D2773a (Fla. 3d DCA Dec. 21, 2011)