A re-think on Harris v. NGK North American

Today’s case of the day, Harris v. NGK North American, Inc., raised the question of alternate methods of service where service by mail fails. My initial take on the case was that the court should have required the plaintiff to try to serve the defendant via the central authority before resorting to unusual means of service. To the extent the court had discretion in the matter, I still think that’s right. But after hitting “publish,” as I thought about the case some more, it seemed to me that under the Supreme Court’s Volkswagen decision (which Harris doesn’t discuss), once it was clear that Pennsylvania law permitted service of process on the Japanese company without the need for sending a document abroad, the Convention really shouldn’t apply. And so I have made a dramatic U-turn refined my conclusion about the case and modified the post accordingly.

About Ted Folkman

Ted Folkman is a shareholder with Murphy & King, a Boston law firm, where he has a complex business litigation practice. He is the author of International Judicial Assistance (MCLE 2d ed. 2016), a nuts-and-bolts guide to international judicial assistance issues, and of the chapter on service of process in the ABA's forthcoming treatise on International Aspects of US Litigation, and he is the publisher of Letters Blogatory, the Web's first blog devoted to international judicial assistance, which the ABA recognized as one of the best 100 legal blogs in 2012, 2014, and 2015.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *