Case of the Day: Navarro v. Tufesa USA

The case of the day is Navarro v. Tufesa USA LLC (D. Utah 2019). Plasida Navarro, a Mexican national residing in Utah (it brought an action in the Utah state courts aganst Tufesa, an LLC with its principal place of business in Arizona and a “John Doe” defendant, whose citizenship was unknown. Tufesa filed a notice of removal on grounds of diversity. Navarro moved for leave to amend the complaint and to replace the “John Doe” defendant with Abundio Guadalupe Miranda, a Mexican national. Tufesa did not object. But later, the court and the parties discovered that the addition of Miranda destroyed diversity jurisdiction, because there is no diversity jurisdiction when aliens are both plaintiffs and defendants. Navarro moved to remand the case to the state court, but Tufesa resisted the motion on the grounds that Navarro had not effected service of process on Miranda and that her attempts to serve him were insufficient because they were contrary to the Hague Service Convention.

Navarro’s service was clearly insufficient: she hired two process servers to deliver the papers to Miranda at his home in Mexico. Because Mexico is a party to the Convention, service must comply with the Convention. Mexico has objected to the use of Article 10, and therefore, the only method of service available for US litigants in Mexico is via the Convention.1 Nevertheless, 28 U.S.C. § 1477(e) suggests that remand is appropriate after the non-diverse party is joined, not served. So the court held that remand was necessary.

  1. Mexico is also a party to the Inter-American Convention and the Additional Protocol, but I leave that point to the side because the service did not comply with the IAC, either.

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