For the plaintiff-respondent, Eugene Capibianco.
For the defendant-prosecutor, Reginald V. Spell (Wilbur A. Stevens, of counsel).
Before Justices Case, Donges and Porter.
The opinion of the court was delivered by
PORTER, J. This case comes before us on a writ of certiorari to review an order of the District Court of the First Judicial District of the county of Monmouth in denying the prosecutor's motion to set aside service of summons and state of demand.
The suit was brought by Rev. Anthony Giovannini against the defendant-prosecutor, Hartford Accident and Indemnity Company, to secure reimbursement of expenses alleged to have been incurred by him in defending a suit brought against him as a result of an automobile accident in which he was involved during the term of a policy of insurance he had with the defendant company.
The summons and state of demand were served upon one Joseph Santa, an agent who wrote insurance for the defendant. On the return day the defendant appeared specially and moved that the service be set aside on the ground that the court had obtained no jurisdiction over the defendant for the reason that Santa was not its general agent nor in charge of an office of the company nor was he such a representative on whom service for it could be made.
The motion was denied, the propriety of that ruling being the sole question presented.
The District Court act (chapter 228, Pamph. L. 1898, as amended Pamph. L. 1908, p. 181) provides that service of process on a foreign corporation shall be served upon "any officer, director, agent, or clerk, or engineer of such corporation."
Was Santa an agent of the company within the meaning of this statute? It appears that he was an agent of the company
for the purpose of selling insurance for it and that in that connection he also gave service to his clients in assisting them in making necessary reports of accidents to the company. He had no power to issue policies without first submitting applications to the company for acceptance. He collected and receipted for ...