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$2 million default judgment against deli owner set aside

Monday, December 30, 2019, 4:12 pm News Flash Archive

A default judgment of $2,008,980 against Greenwood deli owner KK Henderson Kent has been set aside by Circuit Court Judge Ashley Hines because, the judge ruled, Ms. Kent was never properly served with the lawsuit.

But the lawsuit may not be over yet. Judge Hines stated in his ruling that the plaintiff may continue the lawsuit if she serves Ms. Kent with the summons.

The wrongful death lawsuit was filed soon after Jose Escudero died in an automobile crash near Ms. Kent's farm on County Road 512 early in the morning of September 20, 2018. Mr. Escudero's mother, Sandra Santos, sued Kent, claiming a donkey belonging to Kent was loose in the road, causing a collision and the crash that led to her son's death.

Ms. Santos is represented by Greenwood attorney Cam Auerswald.

Deputy Sheriff Cody Vanlandingham claimed he served Ms. Kent on December 14, 2018 at her deli.

But when Ms. Kent failed to respond to the lawsuit, or defend against it, Judge Ashley Hines issued a default judgment on August 6, 2019, awarding Ms. Santos $2,008,980 in damages against Ms. Kent.

Ms. Kent claims she was not served and that the first notice she received of the lawsuit was on August 12, 2019. Her attorneys filed a motion to set aside the default judgment.

At a hearing on November 4, Ms. Kent and a number of witnesses testified that Kent had not been served when Mr. Vanlandingham said he served her. For some reason, Mr. Vanlandingham did not appear as a witness at the hearing, though he had earlier provided an affidavit swearing that he had indeed served Ms. Kent at her deli on December 14, 2018.

On November 20, Judge Hines entered his order setting aside the default judgment against Kent. He based his ruling on the fact that the only testimony provided in the hearing was that Ms. Kent had not been served, and therefore the judge ruled that she had not been served.

At this time, 40 days after the Court's ruling, no further action has been taken by Ms. Santos or her lawyer to obtain a summons or to serve Ms. Kent.

Judge Hines' order may be seen here:
Order to set aside default judgment

John Pittman Hey
The Taxpayers Channel

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