Letters Blogatory contributor Alejandro Manevich comments on a recent Ontario decision construing the Hague Service Convention to forbid a plaintiff himself to deliver a summons to a defendant in a country that has not objected to service under Article 10(c), even if the plaintiff is a competent person to serve process under the law of the receiving state. This is an interesting problem, and one I hadn’t considered before—the problem can’t really arise in the US courts, where plaintiffs cannot serve process themselves. Continue reading Case of the Day: Mitchison v. Zerona International→
The case of the day is Murtech Energy Services, LLC v. ComEnCo Systems, Inc. (E.D. Mich. 2014). ComEnCo, a Canadian firm, was in the business of manufacturing HVAC equipment. Murtech was its exclusive sales representative in Ontario and Michigan. The business relationship soured, and Murtech sued ComEnCo as well as its wholly owned subsidairy, ComEnCo (Hangzhou) Environmental Equipment Co., and its president, Raymond Hsu. Hangzhou was a Chinese firm, and Hsu was a Canadian national living in Toronto.
Murtech served process on Hsu at a business meeting held in Michigan. It served process on ComEnCo by mail sent to its headquarters in Ontario. And it sought to serve process on Hangzhou via the Chinese central authority. All of the defendants moved to dismiss on grounds of insufficient service of process.
Hsu’s main argument was that he had been lured from Canada to Michigan under false pretenses not to have a real meeting but only in order to be served with process. The fact of the matter was disputed. But the judge noted that some courts have adopted a bright-line rule forbidding service of process whenever a party enters a jurisdiction in order to attend settlement discussions or a business meeting. The judge adopted this rule and quashed the service. Continue reading Case of the Day: Murtech Energy Services v. ComEnCo Systems→