Hess v. Pawlowski

274 U.S. 352 (1927)


Pawloski (P) alleged that Hess (D) negligently drove a car on a Massachusetts highway and injured P. D was a nonresident of Massachusetts and a citizen of Pennsylvania. Personal service on D was not affected and no property belonging to D was attached. However, a Massachusetts statute provided that a nonresident motorist was deemed to have appointed the registrar of motor vehicles as their agent for service of process in cases arising out of accidents involving nonresidents and residents. The statute required that notice of service and a copy of the process must be sent registered mail to the defendant. P sued D under the authority of the statute based on the statutes implied agreement to consent to jurisdiction by using the roads within the state. D did get actual notice of the suit and made a special appearance to contest jurisdiction. Jurisdiction was upheld, and D appeared and defended the suit. P got the verdict and D appealed. D claimed that Massachusetts courts did not have jurisdiction over him and that the statutory provisions violated the 14th Amendment Due Process rights.