Default Judgment Upheld

The plaintiff sued his former employer, El Paisano, for unpaid wages and unpaid overtime.  After four unsuccessful attempts by a process server to serve El Paisano at the address of its registered agent, the plaintiff served the Texas Secretary of State, who then forwarded the process to the same address via certified mail.  That attempt at service also failed, and the process was returned to the secretary of state with the notation “unclaimed.”  The plaintiff then moved for a default judgment, which the trial court granted.

El Paisano eventually learned of the default judgment and sought to have it set aside.  The trial court denied its motion for a new trial, and El Paisano appealed.  El Paisano argued, among other things, that it was not properly served because the secretary of state did not send the process to its principal place of business.  The Court of Appeals rejected that argument and upheld the default judgment, noting that the plaintiff was entitled to use substituted service on the secretary of state and that the secretary of state had no obligation to send it anywhere other than the address of El Paisano’s registered agent.

El Paisano Nw Hwy v. Arzate, No. 05-12-01457-CV

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