Tuesday, May 16, 2006, 5/16/2006 02:40:00 PM

No Summons, No Peace

By Todd
Those of you who are litigators obviously know that there is a summons and a complaint. The summons compels the defendant to respond to the complaint or explain why they shouldn't have to and the complaint spells out the legal claims against the defendant.

A weird case was reported today in our home jurisdiction of North Carolina. Apparently the plaintiff/former employer sued their case by filing the complaint but a summons never issued. The defendant didn't learn about this summons deficiency initially and defended the misappropriation of trade secrets case by losing the motion for temporary restraining order, losing the motion for preliminary injunction and then being forced to take an appeal. Presumably tens of thousands in defense fees were generated all the while.

Arguing that the trial court did not have jurisdiction due to the failure of a summons being issued and that the injunctive relief should never have been provided to plaintiff, defendant took an appeal. And they won, too. Although this is just a technical pleading lesson, remember to obtain a summons to serve with your complaint if you represent the plaintiff who is seeking injunctive relief or you may end up with no summons, no peace - and no permanent injunction, either.

Conner Brothers Machine Co., Inc. v. Rogers, 2006 WL 1318784 (N.C. Ct. of Appeals, May 16, 2006).

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