Tag Archives: Hong Kong

Case of the Day: Ackelson v. Manley Toys

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.
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Case of the Day: In re O’Keeffe

The case of the day is In re O’Keeffe (D.N.J. 2015). Kate O’Keeffe was a Hong Kong-based reporter for Dow Jones & Co. She wrote an article, published in the US, European, and Asian editions of the Wall Street Journal, that described casino magnate Sheldon Adelson as “foul-mouthed.” Adelson, displaying some pretty thin skin for a billionaire in my opinion, sued O’Keeffe for libel in Hong Kong. O’Keeffe brought an application under § 1782 for leave to serve a subpoena on Kirk A. Thorell, formerly the auditor for one of Adelson’s companies. The WSJ had previously reported that Adelson’s “demeanor” was one of the reasons Thorell’s firm, PriceWaterhouseCoopers, no longer audited the company. She suggested that Thorell might have information to support her assertion, in her article, that Adelson was “foul-mouthed.” The magistrate judge granted the application ex parte, and Adelson then moved to quash.
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Case of the Day: Halo Creative & Design v. Comptoir Des Indes

The case of the day is Halo Creative & Design Ltd. v. Comptoir Des Indes Inc. (N.D. Ill. 2015). Halo, a Hong Kong firm that designed high-end furniture, sued Comptoir Des Indes, a Québec competitor, for infringement of a US design patent as well as for copyright infringement and trademark infringement and on various other claims. Comptoir moved to dismiss on forum non conveniens grounds in favor of litigation in Canada.
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