Case of the Day: Wimbledon Financing Master Fund v. Weston Capital Management

The case of the day is Wimbledon Financing Master Fund, Ltd. v. Weston Capital Management, LLC (N.Y. Sup. Ct. 2017). Wimbledon sued Keith Laslop for aiding and abetting a fraud. After Wimbledon asserted that Laslop had been “duly served … in Canada in accordance with the Hague Convention” (by mail, according to the return of service), Wimbledon sought a default judgment.

Laslop opposed the motion, arguing that although he was a Canadian citizen, he lived and worked in the Bahamas. Wimbledon had return receipts showing the mail was delivered to a Canadian business address, but it couldn’t show that the mail was delivered to Laslop personally. The parties apparently spent a lot of time arguing whether the service by mail satisfied the requirements of the Hague Service Convention. But the judge correctly reasoned that Laslop’s citizenship wasn’t relevant to the issue of service. The question is where he resided or had his place of business. This is not a difficult point, but it’s worth noting from time to time: the Convention is focused on the place where the service is to be made, not the nationality of the defendant or even necessarily the residence or domicile or the defendant.

The judge was unhappy with Laslop, characterizing him as engaging in “apparent evasion of service” and noting he claims to live in the Bahamas but cites no address.” So he granted leave to make alternate service, deeming the e-filing of the court’s decision to constitute service (because Laslop had a lawyer who would receive the e-filing). It would probably be better, as a matter of form, to authorize service by mail or email on the lawyer.

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