The case of the day is Universal Group Development Inc. (Saipan) v. Yu (D.N.M.I. 2015). I believe this is our first case from the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. Hafa Adai, Saipan! Just a brief word about the status of the Islands and the court: the Northern Mariana Islands are is an organized unincorporated territory of the United States, like Puerto Rico. The US District Court for the Northern Mariana Islands is not a court established under Article III of the Constitution: it is established under Article IV, § 3, which provides:
The Congress shall have power to dispose of and make all needful rules and regulations respecting the territory or other property belonging to the United States; and nothing in this Constitution shall be so construed as to prejudice any claims of the United States, or of any particular state.
Its judges are appointed by the President (with the advice and consent of the Senate) for a limited term, not for life. This is like the District Court of Guam but contrasts with the US District Court for the District of Puerto Rico, which Congress, by statute, made into a true Article III court with judges with tenure during their good behavior. Appeals from the court generally go to the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.
Anyway, here was the case. Continue reading Case of the Day: Universal Group Development v. Yu
The case of the day is Ackelson v. Manley Toys Ltd. (Iowa Ct. App. 2015). The plaintiffs, Tammie Ackelson, Robin Drake, and Heather Miller, sued their employers, Manley Toy Direct LLC, Toy Network LLC, alleging violations of the Iowa Civil Rights Act. They later amended the complaint to add Manley Toys Ltd., and Toy Quest, Ltd., two related entities, both Hong Kong companies without agents for service of process in the United States.
The employees sought to make service on the Hong Kong companies by way of the Hong Kong central authority under the Hague Service Convention. The bailiff’s affidavit stated that the address where he served the documents “was operating (sic) by two companies named Manley Toys Limited and Toy Quest Limited, of which a female staff member, Ms. Lo Ming informed me that the aforesaid address was the registered office of the said party for service.” Looks good! But the two Hong companies moved to quash the service on the grounds that they had no employe or agent named Lo Ming (as far as the decision reveals, they did not claim that service had been made at the wrong address). The trial judge granted the motion, citing a similar decision from the US District Court for the Southern District of Iowa in another case involving the same defendants (but not, apparently, involving the same plaintiffs). I believe that the federal decision at issue was this decision in Rennenger v. Manley Toy Direct LLC (S.D. Iowa 2013), which also featured the mysterious Lo Ming. The employees then sought to make service on the Hong Kong companies’ US counsel under Iowa Rule of Civil Procedure 1.305(14). The trial judge agreed, and the Hong Kong companies took an interlocutory appeal.
Continue reading Case of the Day: Ackelson v. Manley Toys
The case of the day is Autodesk, Inc. v. ZWCAD Software Co. (N.D. Cal. 2015). The claim was for copyright infringement and trade secret misappropriation; Autodesk claimed that ZWCAD, a Chinese firm, had committed a “wholesale theft of its proprietary source code.” There was a protective order in the case, but ZWCAD claimed that it would risk legal consequences in China if it produced confidential material in discovery, so it asked the court to require that such materials be requested and produced via the Hague Evidence Convention, or at least to amend the protective order to require the inspection of source code to take place in China.
Continue reading Case of the Day: Autodesk v. ZWCAD