Case Caption: The Estate of Arnold S. Skepple a/k/a Arnold Skepple and Delores Skepple vs. The Bank of Nova ScotiaCase Number: S. Ct. Civ. No. 2014-0050Date: 08/17/2018Author: Swan, Ive Arlington Citation: Summary: In an appeal from an order of the Superior Court denying a homeowner’s motion to vacate a default judgment entered against her in favor of the plaintiff-appellee bank in a civil action to foreclosure a mortgage on her home, the trial court erred in denying the motion to vacate the default judgment. The default judgment was void ab initio because, when the court entered it, the Superior Court lacked personal jurisdiction over the homeowner due to improper service of process by publication, and no other valid form of service upon the homeowner was achieved. However, when the homeowner participated on the merits of this case by filing a motion to vacate the default judgment and, in that motion, put forth an ineffective challenge to personal jurisdiction, she waived her claim of defective service. This active participation by the homeowner subjected her to the personal jurisdiction of the Superior Court. Therefore, consistent with established Virgin Islands precedent expressing a strong preference that cases be resolved on the merits, the default judgment is vacated. The Superior Court’s order denying the homeowner’s motion to vacate the default judgment is reversed, and this case is remanded to the Superior Court. On remand, no further action is required to make the homeowner a party to this suit, due to her waiver of any objection to personal jurisdiction, and the Superior Court is directed to vacate the default judgment and enter an order providing the homeowner with the appropriate time to answer the complaint or otherwise defend in this matter.Attachment: Open Document or Opinion