Letters Blogatory

The Blog of International Judicial Assistance | By Ted Folkman of Folkman LLC

What’s In A Name? New Rules For The HCCH Conventions

Posted on March 29, 2021

Readers, I would like to invite you to participate with me in what may be a Sisyphean task—to change the names we give to the HCCH conventions when we speak or write about them. Instead of calling it the “Hague Service Convention,” or, heaven forbid, the “Convention of 15 November 1965 on the Service Abroad of Judicial and Extrajudicial Documents in Civil or Commercial Matters,” we should call it the “HCCH 1965 Service Convention.” Ditto for the HCCH 1970 Evidence Convention and the others.

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Supreme Court building in the evening
Credit: Joe Ravi (CC BY-SA)

Case of the Day: Ford v. Montana

Posted on March 26, 2021

The case of the day is Ford Motor Co. v. Montana Eighth Judicial District Court (S. Ct. 2021). It’s an personal jurisdiction decision that keeps the law from going off the rails but also may be important in its future implications. The case involved a car accident that took place in one US state, the state where the injured plaintiff lived. Ford didn’t manufacture or design the car in that state, but it did advertise, sell, and service the car model that was involved in the accident there. Ford claimed that the state court lacked personal jurisdiction because it hadn’t manufactured or designed the particular car in question in that state, but the court rejected its argument: “When a company like Ford serves a market for a product in a State and that product causes injury in the State to one of its residents, the State’s courts may entertain the resulting suit.”

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Yet Another Servotronics Update: Tribunal Declines To Continue Hearing

Posted on March 23, 2021

Okay, here is yet another Servotronics update, occasioned by an intrepid reader who sent me a copy of the Third Interim Award in the underlying arbitration. Servotronics had sought an adjournment of the hearing, now scheduled for May 2021, but the court denied the request. Check out paragraph 23:

For completeness, we should add that the Respondent also relied, though very much as a subsidiary argument, on the possibility that an adjourned hearing might benefit from further evidence received in the § 1782 proceedings. We doubt if this is a significantly more realistic prospect in October than it would be in May. In all the circumstances, this is not a compelling reason for an adjournment.

There is no chance that Servotronics will have the discovery in hand by May, or even that the case will be argued in the Supreme Court by May, barring some extraordinary request that seems to me highly unlikely to be granted, and then some extraordinarily fast work as the case wends its way back from the Supreme Court to the District Court. And so the mootness issue I have flagged before is evidently a very serious one. Time will tell whether Servotronics’ lawyers decide to seek extraordinarily fast relief or whether they will be sufficiently motivated to try to get a decision on the issue despite its mootness, on the grounds that it is “capable of repetition yet evading review.”