The case of the day is Body By Jake Global, LLC v. Susanto (N.D. Cal. 2012). The claim was that Susanto, an Indonesian company, sold counterfeit exercise equipment on eBay. Body By Jake attempted to serve the summons and complaint by certified mail, return receipt requested, and when Susanto failed to answer, Body By Jake sought a default judgment.
The judge correctly denied the motion and vacated the clerk’s entry of default. Indonesian law does not, according to the court, permit service by mail by a private party, and Fed. R. Civ. P. 4(f) permits service by mail, but only if the mail is addressed and mailed by the clerk. Body By Jake argued that its method of service was permissible under California procedural law, but that is irrelevant where the defendant is being served abroad. Easy case. Kudos to Judge James Ware for getting this right even though the motion was unopposed.