Must-Read Opinion Regarding Return-of-Service Affidavits

Mesa SW Management, LP v. BBVA USA
Dallas Court of Appeals, No. 05-20-01091-CV (February 24, 2022)
Justices Myers, Osborne, and Nowell (Opinion available here)
Hanging on to a no-answer default judgment is hard. And it may have just gotten harder. In this restricted appeal, the appellants sought reversal of the default judgments against them, arguing BBVA failed to strictly comply with multiple requirements governing service of process. The Dallas Court of Appeals agreed. In particular, the Court took issue with the Affidavit of Service regarding each appellant. The affidavits provided in relevant part:

The Court held the affidavits failed to comply with Rule 105, which states: “The officer or authorized person to whom process is delivered shall endorse thereon the day and hour on which he received it, and shall execute and return the same without delay.” By its language, the rule requires the same person to whom process is delivered to then execute and return the process without delay. Because the affidavits indicated that Austin Process LLC received the process and Roger Bigony served it, the affidavits did not strictly comply with Rule 105. Failure to show strict compliance with Rule 105 renders attempted service invalid and of no effect. So the default judgments were reversed, and the case was remanded back to the trial court. The Court did not reach appellants’ other complaints about service, including whether an entity such as Austin Process LLC is an “authorized person” to receive the process under the rules.
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