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Gciu-Employer Retirement Fund v. Coleridge Fine Arts

United States District Court, D. Kansas

February 12, 2015

GCIU-EMPLOYER RETIREMENT FUND AND BOARD OF TRUSTEEES OF THE GCUI-EMPLOYER RETIREMENT FUND, Plaintiffs,
v.
COLERIDGE FINE ARTS, Defendant.

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

ERIC F. MELGREN, District Judge.

On June 25, 2014, Plaintiffs GCIU-Employer Retirement Fund and its Board of Trustees filed this lawsuit against Defendant Coleridge Fine Arts, an Irish entity. Defendant seeks to quash Plaintiffs' allegedly defective service of process contending that Plaintiffs failed to follow the Hague Convention provisions and failed to follow Irish law. Because the Court finds that Plaintiffs properly effectuated service on Defendant, the Court denies Defendant's motion and does not quash Plaintiffs' service of process.

Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 4(f) and 4(h) govern service on corporations in a foreign country. Fed.R.Civ.P. 4(h)(2) provides that a foreign corporation "not within any judicial district of the United States" may be served in "any manner prescribed by Rule 4(f) for serving an individual, except personal delivery under (f)(2)(C)(i)." In turn, Fed.R.Civ.P. 4(f)(1) states that when service is effectuated "at a place not within any judicial district of the United States, " it can be done "by any internationally agreed means of service that is reasonably calculated to give notice, such as those authorized by the Hague Convention on the Service Abroad of Judicial and Extrajudicial Documents." The United States and Ireland are both parties to the Hague Convention, and the parties both assert and agree that Defendant must be served in accordance with the Hague Convention.

There are several ways to accomplish service under the Hague Convention. The primary method of service is for a party to mail process to the Central Authority, and the Central Authority then effects service on the corporation according to local law.[1] Defendant argues that because Plaintiffs did not effectuate service through this method, Plaintiffs failed to properly serve Defendant pursuant to the Hague Convention.

There are, however, alternate means to serve a foreign defendant under the Hague Convention. Specifically, Article 10 states

Provided the State of destination does not object, the present Convention shall not interfere with -
(a) the freedom to send judicial documents, by postal channels, directly to persons abroad,
(b) the freedom of judicial officers, officials or other competent persons of the State of origin to effect service of judicial documents directly through the judicial officers, officials or other competent persons of the State of destination,
(c) the freedom of any person interested in a judicial proceeding to effect service of judicial documents directly through the judicial officers, officials or other competent persons of the State of destination.[2]

Ireland has objected, in part, to Article 10.

In accordance with the provision in Article 10 of the Convention the Government of Ireland objects to

(i) the freedom under Article 10(b) of judicial officers, officials or other competent persons of the State of origin to effect service in Ireland of judicial documents directly through judicial officers, officials or other competent persons and
(ii) the freedom under Article 10(c) of any person interested in a judicial proceeding to effect service in Ireland of judicial documents through judicial officers, officials or other competent persons,

but this is not intended to preclude any person in another Contracting State who is interested in a judicial proceeding (including his lawyer) from effecting service in ...


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