Case of the Day: K&L Export v. Corpovex

The case of the day is K&L Export, Inc. v. Corpovex (S.D. Fla. 2018). K&L sued Corpovex in November 2017. Four months later, the court dismissed the case without prejudice on the grounds that the plaintiff had failed to effect service of process on Corpovex, a Venezuelan entity.

Under amended FRCP 4(m), a plaintiff has 90 days to effect service. But the rule does not apply to service abroad. Of course, courts are not endlessly patient with delay in effecting service abroad. The circuits have articulated various tests to help decide when a plaintiff has taken too long. But here the time between commencement of the case was so short that it seems possible to me that it was an abuse of discretion. Of course, depending on the limitations issues in the underlying case, it may be preferable just to start over than to take time to appeal.

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