Bell v. Pulmosan Safety Equipment Corp., No. 17-1051 (8th Cir. 2018)Annotate this Case
The Eighth Circuit reversed the district court's grant of default judgment against Pulmosan because the company was not properly served. The court held that, under basic principles of agency law, the death of an agent terminates his authority to act on behalf of the principal. In this case, the death of Pulmosan's registered agent prevented him from receiving service of process on behalf of Pulmosan; his death terminated any agency relationship he may have had with his apartment building's doorman to receive service; and the possible habitation of the agent's widow at her husband's former residence did not validate service based on her former status as a corporate officer. Therefore, the attempted service of process was invalid, the district court lacked jurisdiction over Pulmosan, and its subsequent judgment was void.