Legal Eagle Eye Newsletter for the Nursing Profession (4)12 Sep 96


   It does not matter under the rules of court whether lawsuit papers are inadvertently lost or deliberately ignored.

   Court papers were served upon a healthcare corporation by a process server hired by the attorney representing a former employee who had filed a civil suit over her termination for having filed a worker’s comp claim.  The employee’s attorney got an order of default, and an award for his client of sixty-three weeks back pay as her damages for wrongful termination of employment.

   The corporation apparently lost the suit papers. No formal written response to the lawsuit was filed in court.

   The Court of Appeals of South Carolina ruled the office manager was a proper person to accept service of court papers under local rules of court. The employer’s failure to respond to the suit, in an of itself, was ruled sufficient in this case to establish the employer’s legal liability for wrongful termination. Schenk vs. National Health Care, Inc., 471 S.E. 2d 736 (S.C. App., 1996).