The Second Department, reversing Supreme Court, determined that the proof that defendant was properly served with the summons and complaint was not rebutted by the defendant’s unsubstantiated allegations:
“At a hearing to determine the validity of service of process, the burden of proving personal jurisdiction is upon the party asserting it, and that party must sustain that burden by a preponderance of the credible evidence” … .”In reviewing a determination made after a hearing, this Court’s authority is as broad as that of the hearing court, and this Court may render the determination it finds warranted by the facts, taking into account that in a close case, the hearing court had the advantage of seeing the witnesses” … .
Here, viewing the evidence in its totality, the plaintiff met her burden of proving by a preponderance of the evidence that jurisdiction over the defendant was obtained by proper service of process … . At the hearing, the process server testified to his independent recollection of his personal delivery of the papers to a person of suitable age and discretion at the defendant’s dwelling, explained why he recalled this particular delivery, and gave testimony about the mailing. Among the exhibits the plaintiff presented at the hearing was a photograph, with a date, time, and GPS coordinates, depicting where the process server delivered the papers. The defendant’s testimony verified that the person of suitable age and discretion, as named and described in the process server’s affidavit, was consistent with the name and description of one of his co-tenants, his father. Although the defendant testified that his father was out of the country at the time of delivery, the defendant’s testimony, which was unsubstantiated and, in critical respects, without a basis of personal knowledge, was insufficient to support the determination that he was not properly served. Sturrup v Scaria, 2020 NY Slip Op 04506, Second Dept 8-12-20