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Click here for the full text of this decision FACTS:Denis Proulx filed a personal-injury suit against Michael Wells on May 2, 2003, shortly before the statute of limitations expired on May 21, 2003. Proulx’s process server, Brian Duffe, received the citation on May 20, 2003, and from May 21, 2003, until Sept. 17, 2003, made 23 attempts to serve Wells at four different addresses. Eleven of these attempts were made between May 21 and July 22, 2003, at 701 Riverside Drive in Arlington. On July 31, 2003, Duffe informed Proulx’s attorney that he did not believe Wells lived at that address, and an in-house investigator was utilized to ascertain Wells’ whereabouts. The investigator located three possible alternative addresses for Wells, and Duffe made 12 unsuccessful attempts between Aug. 5, 2003, and Sept. 17, 2003, to serve Wells at those addresses. On Oct. 17, 2003, Proulx turned to another process server, Cynthia Rosser, for assistance. From the time she received the citation on Oct. 17, 2003, until Dec. 5, 2003, Rosser made seven service attempts at two different addresses. In addition, between Dec. 5, 2003, and Dec. 10, 2003, Rosser made over 20 calls to Wells’ brother, who resided at the address Wells listed on his driver’s license. During this time, Proulx also hired Arthur Cantrell, a private investigator, to locate Wells. Cantrell concluded that Wells was moving from relative to relative in an attempt to avoid service from creditors and courts, and he suggested that substituted service under Rule 106 would be the best solution. On Jan. 15, 2004, Proulx filed a motion for substituted service. Service was finally effected by substituted service on Wells’ brother on Jan. 26, 2004, a little over eight months after the statute of limitations expired. Wells moved for summary judgment claiming that, although suit was timely filed, the statute of limitations had run, because Proulx failed to exercise due diligence in securing service of process. The trial court granted summary judgment in Wells’ favor, and a divided 2nd Court of Appeals affirmed, holding Proulx lacked diligence in effecting service as a matter of law. HOLDING:Reversed and remanded. A suit for personal injuries, the court stated, must be brought within two years from the time the cause of action accrues. But a timely filed suit will not interrupt the running of limitations unless the plaintiff exercises due diligence in the issuance and service of citation. It is the plaintiff’s burden, the court stated, to present evidence regarding the efforts that were made to serve the defendant and to explain every lapse in effort or period of delay. In assessing diligence, the court stated that the relevant inquiry is whether the plaintiff acted as an ordinarily prudent person would have acted under the same or similar circumstances and was diligent up until the time the defendant was served. Generally, the court stated, the question of the plaintiff’s diligence in effecting service is one of fact and is determined by examining the time it took to secure citation, service or both, and the type of effort or lack of effort the plaintiff expended in procuring service. Wells, the court stated, contended that there were periods of delay for which Proulx failed to provide an adequate explanation and the nine months that elapsed between the time suit was filed and substituted service was effected demonstrated lack of diligence as matter of law. But the court held otherwise. In light of the evidence presented regarding Proulx’s continuous investigation and repeated service attempts, coupled with evidence that Wells was deliberately avoiding service, the court concluded that Wells failed to establish conclusively lack of diligence. OPINION:Per curiam.

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