Service of Process

A Big Step Forward for Service by Email under the Hague Service Convention

The Special Commission on the practical operation of the Service, Evidence, and Access to Justice Conventions has just completed its 2024 meeting and, at last, taken on the issue of service by email under the Hague Service Convention. Its conclusions are welcome and should have a significant influence on U.S. courts’ decisions, which in recent…

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Desperately Seeking Interlocutory Appeal

Despite some excellent opinions correctly interpreting the Hague Service Convention (HSC) and Rule 4(f)(3) in recent years, the district courts continue to be deeply divided on recurring questions of international service of process, in particular the permissibility of service by email or by other electronic means. Bill Dodge and I think such questions are clearly…

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Ninth Circuit Creates Split on Serving Motion to Confirm Arbitration Award

How does one serve process to confirm an arbitral award on parties outside the United States? The answer turns out to be quite complicated. In Voltage Pictures LLC v. Gussi S.A. de C.V., the Ninth Circuit charted a careful path through the maze of interactions between the Federal Arbitration Act (“FAA”) and the Federal Rules…

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New Decision on Email Service Under the Hague Service Convention

Regular TLB readers may recall that federal district courts are struggling with an important procedural question: whether they may authorize email service when the defendant resides in a country that is party to the Hague Service Convention. In Smart Study Co. v. Acuteye-U.S., Judge Gregory H. Woods (SDNY) held that the answer is no. The…

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Binding Non-Signatories to Service-of-Process Clauses

I have previously blogged about attempts to bind non-signatories to choice-of-law clauses and forum selection clauses via the closely-related-and-foreseeable doctrine. My general take is that while it is sometimes appropriate to rely on this doctrine in cases involving forum selection clauses, it is never appropriate to rely on it to bind a non-signatory to a…

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Preliminary Injunctions and the Hague Service Convention

Kitchenaid

In Whirlpool Corporation v. Shenzhen Sanlida Electrical Technology Company, the Fifth Circuit addressed the interaction between the Hague Service Convention and the preliminary injunction. Briefly, Whirlpool sued Shenzhen in the Eastern District of Texas for trademark and trade dress infringement related to Whirlpool’s “iconic” KitchenAid mixer. (Much like a prior Seventh Circuit case, this one…

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New Scholarship on the Hague Service Convention

Thomas G. Vanderbeek recently published a note in the Vanderbilt Law Review that considers whether and to what extent parties should be permitted to “contract around” the Hague Service Convention (HSC). The conventional wisdom holds that the best way to avoid the HSC is to appoint a local agent to receive service of process. Once…

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Further Developments in Smart Study

TLB has been following Smart Study v. Happy Party-001, a Chinese counterfeiting case in the Southern District of New York, since Judge Gregory Woods issued his thoughtful opinion last summer concluding that service by email on Chinese defendants is not permitted by the Hague Service Convention (a decision we covered in a prior blog post)….

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The Impossibility of Serving Russian Defendants

The Hague Service Convention is a blessing and a curse. By obligating each country that has joined to designate a Central Authority for effectuating service of process on defendants within its territory, the Convention provides a means of service that respects foreign sovereignty, complies with federal rules, and helps ensure the enforceability of resulting judgments….

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A Primer on Service of Process

Serving process on a defendant does two things: (1) it asserts the court’s authority over the defendant; and (2) it provides the defendant with notice of the lawsuit. In the United States, process can be served by private parties. But many foreign states regard service as a public act that can be done only by…

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