The Second Department, reversing Supreme Court, over a concurrence arguing defendant is estopped from contesting service of process, determined a hearing was required to determine whether defendant was properly served in this foreclosure action and whether defendant should be estopped from contesting service:
The defendant’s sworn statements that he had relocated to California and was living there at the time of the purported service, coupled with a copy of the defendant’s executed residential lease agreement for an apartment in Los Angeles, were sufficient to warrant a hearing to determine whether service was properly effectuated … . …
… [T]he plaintiff’s evidence demonstrating that the defendant failed to update his address with the plaintiff or with the United States Postal Service was insufficient to establish, without a hearing, that the defendant should be estopped from contesting service as a matter of law … . The defendant’s statement on a 2015 mortgage assistance application that the subject property was his principal residence also does not establish, as a matter of law, that the defendant is estopped from contesting that the subject property was a valid address for service of process, as the defendant’s representation on the mortgage assistance application was made prior to the date when he claims to have relocated to California, and three years prior to the date of purported service at the subject property … . U.S. Bank N.A. v Henry, 2023 NY Slip Op 04391, Second Dept 8-23-23
Practice Point: A party who takes steps to avoid service of process may be estopped from contesting service. Here a hearing on the issue should have been held.