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Case of the Day: Ackourey v. Noblehouse Custom Tailors

The case of the day is Ackourley v. Noblehouse Custom Tailors (E.D. Pa. 2013). The plaintiff, Richard Ackourey, sued Noblehouse Custom Tailors, a Hong Kong firm, and its owner, Vijay Wadwahani, for copyright infringement. The court dismissed the action for failure to serve process, and Ackourley moved to reopen the case, stating that he had served the complaint by certified mail, return receipt requested but had not yet received the proof of service because he had not yet received the return receipt. The court correctly recognized that the failure to file the return of service until after the case was dismissed was not fatal, because under FRCP 4(l)(3), “Failure to prove service does not affect the validity of service.” Still, the court considered whether the method of service was valid. The court got this right on all points. First, the Hague Service Convention applies to Hong Kong. Second, Article 10(a) permits service of process by mail. Third, although China has objected to service by mail, Hong Kong has not. The court therefore correctly granted the motion to vacate the dismissal. Easy.