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Case of the Day: Alharbi v. The Blaze, Inc.

Glenn Beck
Glenn Beck. Credit: Gage Skidmore

The Case of the Day is Alharbi v. The Blaze, Inc. (D. Mass. 2016). Foreign readers may not be familiar with Glenn Beck. He is one of the group that I like to call the carnival barkers: unserious, pseudo-intellectual commentators from whom many right-wing partisans get their news. (I’m sure there are carnival barkers of the left, too, but I’m not writing about them today). After the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, Beck identified an injured bystander, Abdulrahman Alharbi, “as an active participant in the bombing, even after the authorities had publicly exonerated him.” He also told listeners that Alharbi, a Saudi Arabian student living in Massachusetts, “was involved in recruiting the Tsarnaev brothers, gave the ‘go order’ for the bombing, and was the ‘money man’ who funded the attacks.” Alharbi brought a defamation action.
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Case of the Day: SiOnyx v. Hamamatsu Photonics

The case of the day is SiOnyx LLC v. Hamamatsu Photonics K.K. (D. Mass. 2016). SiOnyx and the President and Fellows of Harvard College brought an action against Hamamatsu Photonics, a Japanese corporation, and its American subsidiary, Hamamatsu Corp., and others. The plaintiffs effected service on Hamamatsu Corp., but they conceded that they had not directly effected service on Hamamatsu Photonics. Instead, they asserted that service on the subsidiary was effective as service on the parent, because the subsidiary was the parent’s “managing or general agent,” and thus the service was effective under Mass. R. Civ. P. 4(d)(2). It’s unclear to me, by the way, why the parties focused on Mass. R. Civ. P. 4 instead of Fed. R. Civ. P. 4(h)(1)(B), which also has a managing or general agent provision. The Massachusetts rule is incorporated by reference into the federal only if the service is to be made in the United States; but if the service is to be made in the United States, why not rely instead, or in addition, in the federal rule for domestic service? Perhaps there is some difference in how the federal cases and the Massachusetts cases define a managing or general agent, but if so, I don’t know offhand what it is. In any event, the plaintiffs also sought a preliminary injunction against the Japanese defendant.
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Case of the Day: In re Application of the Republic of Ecuador

The case of the day is In re Application of the Republic of Ecuador (D. Mass. 2015). The case is basically a routine § 1782 request made by Ecuador seeking discovery from Dr. Gregory S. Douglas, one of Chevron’s expert witnesses, for use in the BIT arbitration. The case follows several earlier cases, which I have covered, allowing discovery into expert witness materials notwithstanding the work product doctrine. So, as I say, there is not much of particular interest in the decision itself. There is, however, something extraordinary about the case.
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