Case of the Day: Loeb ex rel. Universal Travel Group v. First Judicial District Court

The case of the day is Loeb ex rel. Universal Travel Group v. First Judicial District Court (Nev. 2013). Loeb brought a shareholder derivative action on behalf of Universal Travel Group against its officers and director, Jiangping Jiang, Jiang Xie, Hujie Gao, Jiduan Yuan, Lizong Wang, Wenbin An, Lawrence Lee, Yizhao Zhang, and Liquan Wang, all of whom reside in China. Universal refused to disclose their addresses to Loeb’s lawyers, and Loeb sought leave to serve by publication. Under Nevada law (in particular Nev. R. Civ. P. 4(e)(1)(i)), when a defendant’s address is known, service by publication is permissible in some cases, but the plaintiff must also mail the documents to the defendant. After Loeb filed his motion, Universal did disclose the addresses. The District Court denied the motion, and Loeb petitioned the Nevada Supreme Court for a writ of mandamus.

The court denied the petition. The decision is clearly correct, because under the law of the forum the service was not complete until the plaintiff both published the notice and mailed the documents to the defendant. I would have addressed the issue a little differently than the Nevada court did. It seems to me that the real issue is that China objects to service by postal channels. In a country that had not made such an objection, it would seems that service by publication would be entirely consistent with the Convention. The court did not address service by postal channels under Article 10(a) at all, which is curious.

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