Case of the Day: SEC v. China Intelligent Lighting and Electronics

The case of the day is SEC v. China Intelligent Lighting and Electronics (S.D.N.Y. 2014). The Securities and Exchange Commission sued Xuemei Li, the president and CEO of China Intelligent Lighting and Electronics, and Tianfu Li, the chairman and CEO of NIVS IntelliMedia Technology Group, Inc., for securities fraud. Both resided in China. The SEC sought leave to serve the two by alternate means under FRCP 4(f)(3). Specifically, the SEC sought leave to serve process by publication in the International New York Times and by e-mail.

The judge denied the motion on due process grounds, as the SEC had not shown a present link between the email addresses and the defendants and as there was no reason to believe that the publication in a newspaper would reach them. Thus the judge did not face the more difficult question that usually arises in such cases, namely, whether service by email is permissible in Hague Convention countries such as China that have objected to service by postal channels. The answer to that question, by the way, is “no,” at least if the defendant’s address is known.

About Ted Folkman

Ted Folkman is a shareholder with Murphy & King, a Boston law firm, where he has a complex business litigation practice. He is the author of International Judicial Assistance (MCLE 2012), a nuts-and-bolts guide to international judicial assistance issues, and of the chapter on service of process in the ABA's forthcoming treatise on International Aspects of US Litigation, and he is the publisher of Letters Blogatory, the Web's first blog devoted to international judicial assistance, which the ABA recognized as one of the best 100 legal blogs in 2012, 2014, and 2015.

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