Case of the Day: National Casualty Co. v. Western Express
Posted on May 25, 2017
The case of the day is National Casualty Co. v. Western Express, Inc. (W.D. Okla. 2017). National Casualty sued Victoria Cardenas, a resident of Mexico. The court granted leave to serve process on Cardenas by email to her US counsel. Cardenas moved to dismiss for insufficient service of process, arguing that under the Hague Service Convention service by email was improper, particularly because Mexico had objected to service by mail under Article 10(a) of the Convention.
The court denied the motion. The judge correctly discerned that because there was no service being made in Mexico, the Convention simply didn’t supply. This is all entirely routine. I note the case only because some of the language raises in a pretty stark way the issue I’ve noted a few times before: Rule 4(f), including Rule 4(f)(3), applies only when you are trying to serve process on a defendant “at a place not within any judicial district of the United States.” You have do some conceptual gymnastics to see that when you serve a summons on a defendant’s US lawyer in the United States, you are serving process “at a place not within any judicial district of the United States.” But I’ve suggested before that the gymnastics are worthwhile if only to avoid calling into question the large number of cases approving of that method of service by alternate means.