Case of the Day: Hudson Financial Corp. v. Autoliv Steering Wheels Mexico
Posted on October 15, 2012
The case of the day is Hudson Financial Corp. v. Autoliv Steering Wheels Mexico S. de R.L. de C.V. (N.D. Ohio 2012). The claim was that Autoliv had bought goods from Red Rock Stamping and Tremont Manufacturing, both of which had assigned their accounts receivable to Hudson Financial, the plaintiff. Hudson sued Autoliv Steering, a Mexican automobile parts company, in the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas for nonpayment, and Autoliv removed the case to federal court and moved to dismiss for insufficient service of process.
Hudson had attempted to serve Autoliv by certified mail sent to a warehouse in Laredo, Texas. Autoliv submitted an affidavit stating that it “operates solely within Mexico and has no plants, offices, or agents in Laredo, Texas or anywhere else within the United States.”
Hudson didn’t put up much of a fight. It submitted a Dun & Bradstreet report giving a Laredo address for an Autoliv branch. You could have a discussion about whether the report was within an exception to the rule against hearsay. Maybe it was a business record, though it does not seem Hudson tried to make the showing required under FRE 803(6). Maybe it was within the exception for “market quotations, lists, directories, or other compilations that are generally relied on by the public or by persons in particular occupations,” FRE 803(17), though again, it doesn’t seem Hudson tried to make this showing. But in any event, the court didn’t rely on the D&B report, and according to the decision, Hudson folded up its tent, “inform[ing] the Court that it does not intend to pursue service under the Hague Convention.”
I don’t get it. The removal tells me that someone thought more than $75,000 was at stake in the litigation. Sure, Mexico may not be the easiest country for Hague Convention service, but live a little! What would the translations into Spanish have cost Hudson? I hope that Hudson’s lawyers didn’t simply give up because of the perceived difficulty of service.