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J & J Sports Productions, Inc. v. Prime Hookah Lounge, Inc.

United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division

October 6, 2017

J&J SPORTS PRODUCTION, INC., Plaintiff,
v.
PRIME HOOKAH LOUNGE, INC., et al., Defendants.

          ORDER GRANTING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR AN ORDER ALLOWING ALTERNATIVE SERVICE UPON DEFENDANTS AND FOR EXTENDED SUMMONS (ECF #6)

          MATTHEW F. LEITMAN, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         On April 25, 2017, Plaintiff J&J Sports Production, Inc. filed this action against Defendants Prime Hookah Lounge, Inc., Stavros Toma, and Brian Toma. (See Compl., ECF #1.) J&J alleges that Defendants Stavros and Brian Toma are the owners of Prime Hookah Lounge, Inc., and that the Defendants unlawfully broadcast a Floyd Mayweather, Jr. closed-circuit boxing match without paying J&J for the rights to do so. (See Id. at ¶¶ 10, 15, Pg. ID 3-5.) The Court issued summonses for the Defendants on April 26, 2017.

         J&J's attempts to serve the Defendants have been unsuccessful. On July 24, 2017, J&J filed a verified “Ex Parte Motion for an Order Allowing Alternative Services Upon Defendants and for Extended Summons.” (See ECF #6.) In that motion, J&J explained that it has repeatedly attempted to serve Defendants with the summons and Complaint, but it has been able to do so. In support of the motion, J&J submitted three affidavits from its process server, Mark Hubert. (See Id. at Pg. ID 24, 26, and 28.) In these affidavits, Mr. Hubert swore under oath that he attempted to serve each Defendant in the following manners:

. On May 7, 2017, Mr. Hubert attempted to serve Stavros Toma and Brian Toma at the registered office address for Prime Hookah Lounge, Inc. Neither Defendant was at the location and Mr. Hubert left his business card. (See Id. at Pg. ID 24, 26.)
. On May 7, 2017, Mr. Hubert attempted to serve Prime Hookah Lounge, Inc. at the last known address for the lounge. The location was “vacant.” (Id. at Pg. ID 28.)
. On May 10, 2017, Mr. Hubert attempted to serve Stavros Toma and Brian Toma at the registered office address for Prime Hookah Lounge, Inc. The office was closed. (See Id. at Pg. ID 24, 26.)
. On May 15, 2017, Mr. Hubert attempted to serve Stavros Toma and Brian Toma at the registered office address for Prime Hookah Lounge, Inc. A male at the location told Mr. Hubert that neither Stavros nor Brian were present. (See Id. at Pg. ID 24, 26.)
. On May 17, 2017, Mr. Hubert attempted to serve Stavros Toma and Brian Toma at the registered office address for Prime Hookah Lounge, Inc. A male at the location told Mr. Hubert that neither Stavros nor Brian were present. (See Id. at Pg. ID 24, 26.)

         After J&J filed this motion, it hired Mr. Hubert to attempt to serve the Defendants at different addresses, including the residences of Stavros and Brian Toma. Mr. Hubert has since submitted additional affidavits in which he swore under oath that those efforts were also unsuccessful. (See ECF ## 7-9.) In these affidavits, Mr. Hubert averred that:

. On June 16, 2017, June 18, 2017, June 27, 2017, and July 2, 2017, he attempted to serve Stavros Toma at his residence. Mr. Hubert “confirmed with neighbors” that Stavros lived at the residence, but either nobody answered the door at the residence or Mr. Hubert was told Stavros was not home. (ECF #7 at Pg. ID 91.)
. On June 16, 2017, June 18, 2017, June 30, 2017, and July 3, 2017, he attempted to serve Brian Toma at his residence. Mr. Hubert “spoke with neighbors who confirmed that [Brian] lived” at the residence. Nobody answered the door for Mr. Hubert even though cars were in the driveway and it “sound[ed] like someone [was] inside.” (ECF #8 at Pg. ID 93.)
. On June 16, 2017, June 18, 2017, June 30, 2017, and July 6, 2017, he attempted to serve Prime Hookah Lounge, Inc. at the residence of Brian Toma. (See ECF #9 at Pg. ID 95.) J&J has presented evidence that Brian Toma is the registered agent of the lounge. (See ECF #6 at Pg. ID 33.) Mr. Hubert's attempts were unsuccessful. (See ECF #9 at Pg. ID 95.)

         J&J now seeks the Court's permission to complete service of the Defendants through “a method or methods, which, in the court's judgment, are reasonably calculated to give [D]efendants actual notice of the proceedings and an opportunity to be heard.” (ECF #6 at Pg. ID 24.)

         Service of process on a domestic corporation is governed by Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 4(h)(1). That ...


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