In its first issue, ACS contends the trial court's jurisdiction was not validly
invoked because it was never served with process. In particular, ACS argues the petition
was sent to the registered agent for the “terminated” ACS and was returned to Weeks.
ACS further contends Weeks did not serve its current registered agent and ACS did not
receive notice of the lawsuit before the default judgment was entered. After reviewing the
record, we agree with ACS.
On direct appeal from a default judgment, the record must affirmatively
show that the trial court had personal jurisdiction over the defendant. See Infra-Pak
(Dallas), Inc. v. Narmour, 852 S.W.2d 565, 566 (Tex. App.-Dallas 1992, no pet.).
There are two essential elements of personal jurisdiction. First, the defendant must be
amenable to the court's jurisdiction and, second, the plaintiff must validly invoke that
jurisdiction by valid service of process on the defendant. Kawasaki Steel Corp. v.
Middleton, 699 S.W.2d 199, 200 (Tex. 1985). When, as here, the default judgment is
attacked on improper service grounds, the record must show strict compliance with the rules
relating to proper service. Allodial Ltd. Partnership v. Susan Barilich, P.C., 184 S.W.3d
405, 408 (Tex. App.-Dallas 2006, no pet.); 14850 Quorum Associates, Ltd. v. Moore
Bus. Forms, Inc., 7 S.W.3d 166, 168 (Tex. App.-Dallas 1998, no pet.). Service may be
made on a foreign corporation through its president, any vice presidents, or a registered
agent of the corporation. Tex. Bus. Corp. Act ann. art. 8.10 (Vernon Supp. 2006). Thus, in
this case, due process requires a showing that CT Corporation System was a proper party
to receive service for ACS. See Infra-Pak, 852 S.W.2d at 566; NBS Southern, Inc. v.
Mail Box, Inc., 772 S.W.2d 470, 471 (Tex. App.-Dallas 1989, writ denied).
The record shows that CT Corporation System was listed with the
Secretary of State as the registered agent for ACS. However, the status of the corporation
on that listing is shown as “terminated.” The Secretary of State's records also contains a
listing for ACS with an “active” status. That listing shows Corporation Service Company
as the registered agent for ACS. Under these circumstances, we cannot conclude the record
in this case shows CT Corporation System was a proper party to receive service for ACS.
We sustain ACS's first issue.
Accordingly, we reverse the trial court's judgment and remand for further