Case of the Day: Progressive Southeastern Insurance Co. v. J&P Transport
Posted on July 25, 2011
The Case of the Day, Progressive S.E. Ins. Co. v. J&P Transport (N.D. Ind. 2011), is a denial of a motion for alternative service in Canada. Progressive, the plaintiff, sought to serve Andrews, a Canadian, at an Ontario address that its private investigator had obtained, via the Canadian Central Authority. The Central Authority’s certificate stated that it was unable to make service because Andrews had moved and left no forwarding address. Progressive then sought leave to serve process on Andrews by mail addressed to Andrews’s Canadian lawyer, who was representing Andrews in a related proceeding in Canada.
The Court denied the motion. It held that Progressive had not used diligence to discovery Andrews’s new address, though the case that it cites for this proposition is a case involving the standard for determining when an address is unknown such that under Article 1 of the Hague Service Convention, the Convention does not apply. This suggests that the court may have misunderstood a somewhat subtle idea—because Canada has not objected to service by postal channels, service by mail in Canada is not inconsistent with the Convention, and so Article 1 isn’t really to the point. More to the point, the Court pointed out there was no evidence Progressive had asked the Canadian lawyer for Andrews’s address. The court went on to say that it wasn’t clear that service on the Canadian lawyer was reasonably calculated to provide notice to Andrews, but it’s not clear why this is so, assuming that he was indeed Andrews’s lawyer.