This opinion will be unpublished and

may not be cited except as provided by

Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (2000).






Jenny Lee Nigg, petitioner,





Brian Ames Hallock,



Filed April 30, 2002


Kalitowski, Judge


Hennepin County District Court

File No. DC116346


Jenny Lee Nigg, 416 Devonshire Drive, Young America, MN 55397 (pro se respondent)


Brian Ames Hallock, 5737 Susan Avenue, Edina, MN 55439 (pro se appellant)


            Considered and decided by Shumaker, Presiding Judge, Kalitowski, Judge, and Willis, Judge.

U N P U B L I S H E D   O P I N I O N


In this appeal in which both parties are pro se, appellant-father, Brian A. Hallock, alleges he was not properly served under Minn. R. Gen. Pract. 355. 02, subd. 1, with notice of the child support proceeding that resulted in the order increasing his support obligation.  We agree and reverse.


            When reviewing a child support magistrate’s order in an expedited child support proceeding, this court

will apply the same standard of review that we would apply to the order if it had been issued by a district court judge in a proceeding conducted outside the expedited child support process.


Brazinsky v. Brazinsky, 610 N.W.2d 707, 710 (Minn. App. 2000).

            “A valid judgment cannot be rendered against a party without due service of process upon him.”  Lange v. Johnson, 295 Minn. 320, 324, 204 N.W.2d 205, 208 (1973).  If appellant did not receive proper service of process, the judgment is void for lack of personal jurisdiction and must be vacated.  Id. 

            The determination of whether service is proper is a question of law.  Amdahl v. Stonewall Ins. Co., 484 N.W.2d 811, 814 (Minn. App. 1992), review denied (Minn. July 16, 1992).  The application of law to stipulated facts is a question of law, which this court reviews de novo.  Morton Bldgs. v. Comm’r of Revenue, 488 N.W.2d 254, 257 (Minn. 1992).  “Service of process in a manner not authorized by the rule is ineffective service.”  Lundgren v. Green, 592 N.W.2d 888, 890 (Minn. App. 1999) (quoting Tullis v. Federated Mut. Ins. Co., 570 N.W.2d 309, 311 (Minn. 1997)). 

            Appellant contends that he was not served properly in accordance with Minn. Gen. R. Prac. 355.01.  We agree.  

            Minn. Gen. R. Prac. 355.01 states that every written motion, except one that may be heard ex parte, must be served upon each of the parties.  Minn. Gen. R. Prac. 355.02, subd. 3, states:

In any proceeding authorized by these rules, service may be made by mailing a copy of the summons and complaint, notice, motion, or other document by first-class mail, postage prepaid addressed to the person to be served at the person’s last known address. 


            Appellant presented evidence that he did not receive a first-class mailing from respondent notifying him of the motion and hearing.  Rather, the record indicates that respondent sent the notice of motion by certified mail and the notice was returned to respondent unopened.  Unlike first-class mail, which is simply delivered to an address and left there, certified mail must be signed for or it is returned to the sender.  Because the notice was returned to respondent unopened, the notice did not comport with rule 355.02 and was invalid.  Therefore, the magistrate lacked personal jurisdiction over appellant and his order is void.   

            Finally, since the magistrate’s order is void, we need not address appellant’s claim that respondent misrepresented the extent of her dental and medical coverage.