Case of the Day: Badyal v. Bosch Packaging Technology

The case of the day is Badyal v. Bosch Packaging Technology, Inc. (E.D. Cal. 2014). Kiranjeet Badyal, who worked at Siemens Healthcare Diagnostics, alleged that she was injured by flying glass and steam when a Bosch autoclave exploded.She sued Bosch and SBM Bchoeller-Bleckmann Medizintechnik for negligence. In a separate action, Siemens and its insurer brought an action against Bosch, SBM, and others for negligence, breach of implied warranty, and strict liability. In its action, Siemens moved for issuance of a letter rogatory to the Austrian authorities to permit service of process on SBM, an Austrian firm. After SBM was served, the two actions were consolidated without objection from any party. But Badyal had not yet effected service on SBM.

Badyal moved for leave, under FRCP 4(f)(3), to serve SBM by service on its US lawyers. SBM objected on the grounds that Badyal had been dilatory and that Badyal couldn’t, therefore, point to the length of time needed to serve via a letter rogatory to justify alternate methods. But the judge rejected this argument. Service by alternative means was particularly appropriate given that the two actions were consolidated; judicial economy strongly favored not allowing one part of the consolidated case to get out of sync with the other.

I particularly like one line from the decision: “[T]he Court should not lose sight of what service of process is about, that is, giving a party notice of the pendency of an action and the opportunity to respond.” No doubt civil law readers gnash their teeth when they read this sort of thing.

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