Appeal from order of Court of Common Pleas of Lawrence County, Dec. T., 1963, No. 37, in case of Samuel Gunnett Neff v. The Tribune Printing Company, Inc., Margaretta D. Stewart, individually and as president, James H. March, Sr., individually and as executive vice president and general manager, et al.
Alvah M. Shumaker, with him Daniel M. Evans and Peter O. Steege, for appellants.
Harry Alan Sherman, for appellee.
Musmanno, Jones, Cohen, Eagen, O'Brien and Roberts, JJ. Opinion by Mr. Justice Eagen. Mr. Justice Musmanno dissents.
This is a libel action based upon the publication of certain alleged defamatory newspaper articles. The defendants are the newspaper publishing corporation, and several individuals who are described in the complaint as officers of the corporation. Service of process was attempted by deputized service. Preliminary objections
to the sufficiency of the service of process upon the several individual defendants were overruled below, and this appeal followed by certain of said defendants*fn1 under the Act of March 5, 1925, P. L. 23, 12 P.S. § 672. We disagree with the court's ruling and will reverse.
The return of service of the sheriff read as follows: "Before me, the undersigned authority, personally appeared, Walter N. Cronin, Deputy Sheriff, who being duly sworn according to law, deposes and says that on the 30th day of September, 1963, at 1:40 P.M., E.D.S.T. he served Complaint in Action of Trespass, filed at No. 37 December Term, 1963, Lawrence County, Pennsylvania, upon defendant the Tribune Printing; et al. at place of business, 715-13th Street, Beaver Falls, Beaver County, Pa. Handed to James March, Sr., true and correct copies of the aforementioned Complaint, and making known to him the contents thereof.
"So answers John W. Hineman, Jr. Sheriff Beaver County."*fn2
Rule 1009 of the Pennsylvania Rules of Civil Procedure prescribes the manner in which service of process shall be made. Under Section (b)(2), (iii) of that rule, where the defendant is an individual, the writ or complaint may be served at any office or usual place of business of the defendant by handing a copy thereof to his agent or to the person for the time being in charge thereof.
The rules relating to service of process must be strictly followed, and jurisdiction of the court over the person of the defendant is dependent upon proper service having been made: McCall v. Gates, 354 Pa. 158, 47 A.2d 211 (1946). Also, Rule 1013 of the Pennsylvania Rules of Civil Procedure ...