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.

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