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Case of the Day: Graphic Styles v. Men’s Wear Creations

The case of the day is Graphic Styles/Styles International, LLC v. Men’s Wear Creations (E.D. Pa. 2015). Graphic Styles brought a copyright infringement action against Men’s Wear Creations, a Hong Kong company. It sought to serve Men’s Wear several times by “international certified mail” (in reality, registered mail, not certified mail) at the Hong Kong address given on the company’s website, but in each case the return receipt “was not signed, but was stamped with a stamp bearing both Defendants’ names and the business address.” Graphic Styles therefore sought leave under FRCP 4(f)(3) to serve process by email and Facebook. It asserted that those means of service were permissible under Article 10(a) of the Hague Service Convention.
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Case of the Day: CTI Systems v. Herr Industrial

The case of the day is CTI Systems, SA v. Herr Industrial, Inc. (E.D. Pa. 2015). CTI, a Luxembourg company, contracted with Herr, a Pennsylvania corporation, for supplies and labor in connection with a “painting installation” in Kansas. The contract amount was $5.2 million, and the contract had Luxembourg choice of law and choice of forum clauses. According to the allegations in the complaint, Herr failed to complete the work required by the contract, and CTI overpaid Herr.

In 2014, CTI sued Herr in the District Court of Luxembourg, seeking to recover the alleged overpayment. Herr was served with process but did not appear. The Luxembourg court entered a default judgment for nearly $400,000. CTI then sued in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, seeking recognition and enforcement of the judgment.

In between the date of the Luxembourg judgment and the date when CTI sued on the judgment, Herr sued CTI in the District of Kansas, alleging that it was still owed money under the contract. The suit alleged a violation of the Kansas Fairness in Private Construction Contracts Act (the KFPCCA), which requires all payment disputes concerning Kansas construction contracts to be brought in Kansas courts. Herr served process on CTI before CTI filed its suit for recognition and enforcement.

The issue before the Pennsylvania court was whether to dismiss CTI’s claim on the grounds that the Kansas suit was the first-filed suit.
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Case of the Day: Clientron Corp. v. Devon IT, Inc.

The case of the day, Clientron Corp. v. Devon IT, Inc. (E.D. Pa. 2014), seems flagrantly wrong. The facts were simple enough. Clientron was a Taiwan corporation. It had a contract with Devon, a Pennsylvania corporation, for the manufacture and delivery of computer components. The contract had an arbitration agreement. A dispute arose, and Clientron commenced an arbitration before the Chinese Arbitration Association in Taiwan. Although Devon argued that the dispute was not arbitrable, the tribunal determined that it had jurisdiction and entered an award for $6.5 million in favor of Clientron. Clientron obtained a judgment in Taiwan enforcing the arbitral award. There had been no decision in a revocation proceeding Devon had brought in Taiwan.
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