Plaintiff sued Defendant for divorce and personally served her while she was boarding a plane in Virginia. Defendant argued Plaintiff used fraud to lure her into Virginia.
State courts have in personam jurisdiction over nonresidents who are personally served with process while physically within the state.
John Cannington (Plaintiff), a resident of Virginia, sued his wife Jodelle Cannington (Defendant), a resident of Maryland, for divorce, support obligations, division of assets, and custody of their child. Defendant was served with process while boarding a plane in Virginia, for a trip planned by Plaintiff. Defendant moved to dismiss for improper service of process, arguing Plaintiff used fraud and trickery to lure her to Virginia.
Does Virginia properly have in personam jurisdiction over Defendant, through personal service of process while Defendant was in Virginia?
Yes, this service of process properly established in personam jurisdiction over the Defendant. Defendant’s motion to dismiss is denied.
The Court determined that this service of process properly established in personam jurisdiction over the Defendant because she was physically within the state at the time she was served. The Court rejected Defendant’s allegations of fraud because evidence demonstrated that she was not induced to enter Virginia by the Plaintiff. This was not her first time in Virginia, and even if Plaintiff had not helped schedule the flight, Defendant would have driven to Virginia to drop her kid off with Plaintiff’s parents, as she had done many times before.