Case of the Day: Asarco v. Xstrata

The case of the day is Asarco LLC v. Xstrata plc (D. Utah 2013). The claim was for contribution under CERCLA. According to Xstrata’s characterization of the return of service, which for unclear reasons is not publicly available via PACER:

[t]he documents were served by posting them through the defendant company’s letterbox at the registered address of the company. This method is good service under Section 1139 of the Companies Act 2006.

But Xstrata’s characterization leaves out a key fact: according to Asarco’s brief, it wasn’t Asarco that mailed the papers—it was the UK central authority, after receiving Asarco’s request for service of process, that served the documents by mail and certified that it had made service under Article 6.

Asarco’s position is obviously correct. If the law of the state addressed permits service by mail, then of course that state’s central authority can serve the documents by mail. The judge agreed and denied the motion. Easy case.

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