Case of the Day: Apindo Corp. v. Toschi Vignola S.R.L.

The case of the day is Apindo Corp. v. Toschi Vignola S.R.L. (D.P.R. 2018). Apindo brought claims against Toschi, an Italian company, under Puerto Rico law. Toschi moved to dismiss for insufficient service of process—Apindo had served process by mail, without an Italian translation.

The judge correctly recognized that Italy had not objected to service by mail under Article 10(a) of the Hague Service Convention: Toschi’s claim that it had not consented to service by mail is irrelevant. The translation issue was not really well-developed. Nothing in the Convention requires a translation of documents served under Article 10. There is a due process issue that can sometimes require a translation, but if Toschi made a due process argument, it didn’t make it in to the court’s opinion. The judge noted “Apindo’s contention that Italy does not require the service documents to be translated into Italian,” but Italy’s position on translations seems irrelevant to any due process analysis.

While a translation often is not required, it may still be wise to serve translations if you contemplate enforcing the judgment in the defendant’s home country. The decision didn’t address whether the lack of a translation would bear on the enforceability of an eventual judgment in Italy, but if you are going to serve documents without a translation, you will want to know the answer to that question before proceeding.

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