Photo by Kirk Slow on Unsplash

At least two or three times a month, I’ll get a call or email that starts off like this:

“Hi, Aaron.  I need to serve two defendants in Canada– an entity and an individual.  Can you help us out?”

First question out of my mouth (after saying “you betcha”):  Is it a trucking case?

“Yeah.  How’d you know?”

Simply put, it’s a textbook case– truly the example I use when I explain to colleagues what my practice entails.  Since the advent of NAFTA in the 1990s (and its successor, USMCA* just a couple of years ago), you’re just as likely to see trucks on the interstate from Ontario or British Columbia as you are from Illinois or Oregon.  Given the sheer number of hours they spend on the highway (all hours, all day, every day), it’s only natural that big rigs are statistically more likely to be involved in collisions than the SUV sitting in my driveway.  It only stands to reason, then, that collisions involving Canadian trucks would prompt litigation involving Canadian carriers and their drivers.  So what is a plaintiff’s lawyer to do?  From a service perspective, it’s no different than any other personal injury suit— this just happens to be the specific type of case we see more than any other.  The defendants are always the same: trucking company, the individual driver, and sometimes their insurance carrier.

Fortunately, Canada offers options in how U.S. process can be served.  In all cases, the Hague Service Convention governs, but the Convention operates differently up north than it does in, say, Mexico or Germany.  The primary way to go is a Request pursuant to Article 5, sent to the Hague Central Authority in the appropriate province– whether you have us handle the whole thing, you use the Hague Envoy platform, or you do it all yourself.  But there’s a better way to go about it: Article 10(b).

Service pursuant to 10(b) allows us to contract directly with a huissier de justice in Québec, or a professional agent everywhere else (the English-speaking provinces).  It really doesn’t cost much more, but it gives us significantly more speed and control than using provincial authorities.

Fairly straightforward stuff– it just needs to be done the right way.

* For crying out loud, why didn’t they just call it NAFTA 2.0 ?