Case of the Day: SPM Thermo-Shield v. SICC GmbH

The case of the day is SPM Thermo-Shield, Inc. v. SICC GmbH (M.D. Fla. 2016). The facts of the case were not reported. SPM tried to effect service on SICC, a German firm, and one of its principals, Waldemar Walczok, by personal service on Walczok when he was in Florida. A judge quashed that service on the grounds that SPM had lured Walczok into the jurisdiction. But SPM had made no effort to serve process via the Hague Service Convention. The defendants moved to dismiss.

The issue is one we’ve seen before. The 90-day time limit in FRCP 4(m) expressly does not apply to service abroad. But despite the language of the rule, some courts apply the time limit when the plaintiff makes no effort, or makes an insufficient effort, to serve process within the time specified in the rule. Magistrate Judge Mirando, noting that the Eleventh Circuit had not announced such a rule, refused to dismiss the case, granting an additional thirty days to effect service.

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