Case of the Day: Ahrens v. Pecknick

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A note to readers: Due to my travel schedule, there will likely be no new posts next week, and I may not respond to your comments or emails as quickly as I ordinarily do. Also, thank you for your feedback on political posts. I am going to continue writing them, but I am going to segregate them from the ordinary posts. My current thought is to put them at politics.blogatory.com, but if anyone can come up with a good pun or similarly catchy name that uses “blogatory,” I’m all ears. Also, by separating the political posts, I think we can open up some new possibilities, such as regular contributing authors. So if you are interested in writing about US (or non-US) politics at the new blog, whatever it ends up being called, let’s talk!

The case of the day is Ahrens v. Pecknick (D. Nev. 2016). Edd H. Ahrens sued Windermere Holdings Group, Ltd. and others for copyright infringement and unjust enrichment. Windermere was a Seychelles company. Ahrens attempted service via the central authority, but the Article 6 certificate stated that Windermere was no longer registered, and the process server’s declaration said that Windermere was no present at the address where he attempted service. Ahrens sought leave to serve process by email, using an email address found doing a WHOIS search of the domain name Windermere used for its website.

There is no bar to service by email under the Hague Service Convention, since Windermere’s address was unknown, and thus under Article 1 the Convention did not apply. However, the court denied the motion without prejudice. Although the WHOIS database is a reliable source of information, Ahrens had not used the email address to communicate with Windermere, nor had he offered evidence to show that Windermere used the email address for business purposes. So service at that email address would not comport with due process as it would not be reasonably calculated to apprise Windermere of the action.

About Ted Folkman

Ted Folkman is a shareholder with Murphy & King, a Boston law firm, where he has a complex business litigation practice. Folkman also serves as an arbitrator and is a member of the Commercial and Consumer Panels of the American Arbitration Association. He is the author of International Judicial Assistance (MCLE 2d ed. 2016), a nuts-and-bolts guide to international judicial assistance issues, and of the chapter on service of process in the ABA's treatise on International Aspects of US Litigation (J. Berger, ed. 2017), 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 and 2014 - 2016.

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