Case of the Day: Reflex Media v. Apiriliaco

The case of the day is Reflex Media, Inc. v. Apiriliaco, Ltd. (9th Cir. 2018). The case illustrates nicely the distinction drawn in Water Splash v. Menon between methods of service that the Hague Service Convention authorizes, and methods of service that the Convention merely permits. Reflex served process on Apiriliaco in Cyprus via mail—sent by the plaintiff or its lawyer, not the clerk. Cyprus is a party to the Convention and has not objected to service by postal channels. Reflex then obtained a default judgment, and Apiriliaco appealed.

The court reasoned, correctly, that the service was not affirmatively authorized by the Convention, which merely permits service by postal channels in the absence of an objection from the state of destination. Thus the service was not authorized by FRCP 4(f)(1), which incorporates “internationally agreed means of service … such as those authorized by” the Convention. Nor is the service authorized by FRCP 4(f)(2)(C)(ii), which does authorize service by mail, but only when “the clerk addresses and sends” it and when it requires a signed receipt.

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