DOUGLAS MICHAEL LONG, JR.
DAVID J. VITKAUSKAS
OF JUDGMENT: 10/09/2014
COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT HON. ROBERT P. CHAMBERLIN TRIAL JUDGE
COURT ATTORNEYS: JAMES MATTHEW LENDERMAN A. E. (RUSTY)
ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLANT: MICHAEL J. MALOUF JAMES MATTHEW
LENDERMAN ROBERT EUGENE JONES, II
ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEE: A. E. (RUSTY) HARLOW, JR. KATHI C.
WALLER, CHIEF JUSTICE.
On March 17, 2014, Douglas Michael Long Jr. filed suit
against Pennsylvania resident David J. Vitkauskas for
alienation of affections. Vitkauskas entered a special
appearance and then filed a motion to dismiss for, inter
alia, insufficient service of process under Mississippi
Rule of Civil Procedure 4(c)(5). The trial court granted
Vitkauskas's motion to dismiss on the ground of
insufficient service of process, and the Court of Appeals
affirmed. Finding service was sufficient, we reverse and
remand to the trial court for further proceedings.
AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
Long and his wife separated on May 16, 2011. On March 17,
2014, Long sued Vitkauskas in DeSoto County Circuit Court for
alienation of affections. Long attempted to serve process on
Vitkauskas, a resident of Pennsylvania, via
certified mail marked "restricted delivery"
pursuant to Mississippi Rule of Civil Procedure 4(c)(5). The
mailing was addressed to Vitkauskas at his place of
employment. While delivery was restricted to Vitkauskas, the
return receipt was signed by someone named "Mary"
with the last name illegible.
On May 14, 2014, Vitkauskas's attorney entered a special
appearance to contest jurisdiction and filed a motion to
dismiss on the basis of insufficient service of process,
stating "service of process was insufficient in that the
summons was mailed to the Defendant[']s employer[, ] not
to the Defendant." In his response, Long claimed he
complied with the requirements of Rule 4, attaching the
return receipt as an exhibit. On October 9, 2014, the trial
court granted Vitkauskas's motion, finding that service
was insufficient because the signature, "Mary Bre . . .,
" appeared on the return receipt instead of
Vitkauskas's signature. Long filed a motion for
reconsideration, stating process was adequate under the rules
or, alternatively, for additional time to serve Vitkauskas,
because the time within which to serve Vikauskas had
expired. After a hearing, the trial court denied
Long's motion for reconsideration.
Before the Court of Appeals, Long argued service of process
was sufficient and the trial court had erred by failing to
consider his request for additional time to serve Vitkauskas.
The Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court's dismissal
of the case, finding no abuse of discretion. Long v.
Vitkauskas, 2016 WL 5793348, at *2 (Miss. Ct. App. Oct.
4, 2016), cert. granted by 214 So.3d 1060 (Miss.
2017). We granted Long's petition for writ of certiorari,
which raised the following two issues: (1) whether the trial
court and the Court of Appeals erred by finding that service
of process was insufficient, and (2) whether the trial court
erred by refusing to consider Long's request for
additional time to serve Vitkauskas. We hold service of
process was sufficient; therefore, Long's second concern
The standard of review for a trial court's grant or
denial of a motion to dismiss is denovo.
Johnson v. Rao, 952 So.2d 151, 154 (¶ 9) (Miss.
2007). With regard to service of process, this Court applies
an abuse-of-discretion standard of review to the trial
court's findings of fact. Nelson ...