Koster v. Sullivan, ___ So. 3d ___, 37 Fla. L. Weekly D2371 (Fla. 2d DCA October 10, 2012)
The plaintiff served the defendant’s sister in law at the defendant’s home. The trial court upheld the sufficiency of service because the defendant failed to provide clear and convincing evidence to rebut the presumption of the validity of service that arose from a return of service that was regular on its face: (1) the evidence was conflicting whether the sister in law resided in the defendant’s household, and (2) she did not testify that the process server failed to explain the contents of the documents that he served upon her. The appellate court affirmed but certified a question to the Florida Supreme Court regarding the necessary ingredients for facial validity of service. The process server complied with Section 48.21, Florida Statutes, by specifying the date and time when process was received and served, the manner of service, and the name and position of the person served. The court held that this was sufficient, and the return was not required to specify compliance with the elements of Section 48.031(1)(a), Florida Statutes, dealing with substituted service. Decisions from other district courts of appeal hold otherwise. As a result, the court certified the question whether a process server is required to list expressly on the return compliance with the statutory prerequisites for the specific type of service effected.