Case of the Day: Derrevere v. Mirabella Foundation

The Case of the Day is Jon D. Derrevere, P.A. v. Mirabella Foundation (M.D. Fla. 2011). Derrevere was Mirabella’s lawyer. He had represented Mirabella, apparently a Panamanian entitiy,  in Naseer v. Mirabella Foundation, in which Mirabella was accused of a fraudulent transfer of real estate. Although Panama is a party to the Inter-American Convention on Letters Rogatory, Derrevere sought leave to serve Mirabella by alternate means under Rule 4(f)(2)(C). In particular, he sought to serve Mirabella by mail to Mirabella’s registered agent in Panama, which was a Panamanian law firm. (Panamanian law, as described in the opinion, is unclear. On the one hand, the law firm was “the registered agent … as designated in Mirabella’s formation papers.” On the other hand, “the Republic of Panama does not recognize a designation of a ‘Registered Agent for service of process purposes’ as here in the United States”). The court granted the motion, and when Mirabella failed to answer, the question was whether Derrevere was entitled to a default judgment.

The court held that since the Inter-American Convention was neither mandatory nor exclusive, service by mail on Mirabella’s agent was permissible as long as not forbidden by Panamanian law. Thus the service was proper and Derrevere was entitled to a default judgment.

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.

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