Latest trend in litigation nationwide: Danish pharmaceutical manufacturer Novo Nordisk and its subsidiaries, sued in the United States for dramatically adverse effects of Ozempic and Wegovy. At issue is the relative safety of two medications that were originally approved for treating different yet closely related (diabetes and cardiovascular recovery) maladies, but have been found dramatically effective in treating obesity. This post disregards merits of the suits,* and focuses solely on procedural requirements to launch them.

So, what’s necessary in serving Novo Nordisk? Not anything out of the ordinary, really. Our how-to guide on service of process in Denmark lays out all the particulars of service pursuant to the Hague Service Convention, but one issue is important to keep in mind: Denmark’s position on translation. Here it is, verbatim:

A translation is not required; in the case of an untranslated document, however, the addressee is informed that he is not, under Danish law, under an obligation to accept it.

A bit of a challenge, that. Very rare is the Dane who doesn’t speak English as well as I do– seriously. Technically, you shouldn’t have to worry if your pleadings are solely in English. But many of my clients do worry, and they pay for a pro to turn everything into Danish. Why? It’s tough to say whether the serving officer in Bagsværd will be adamant about that or whether the N.N. staff member who receives the documents will be recalcitrant. If they refuse, the plaintiff goes back to the drawing board and starts all over with the translation,.

Now, fortunately, the Danish authorities are pretty quick, only taking two or three months to return proof of service, but it’s still a gamble, and if the pleadings are relatively short, it won’t cost much to translate.

While the suits are barreling headlong into full MDL status, many must nonetheless be served now. Eventually, as the suits become more consolidated in Chicago (N.D. Ill.), and eventually defense counsel will be compelled to accept, service will be progressively less necessary.

But for now, from a service of process perspective, these cases are not extraordinary. There aren’t special rules for them, and there’s not an exemption from Hague requirements unless they waive or somebody in the United States waives or accepts for the offshore defendants.

* Full disclosure: I’ve struggled with weight my entire adult life, my entire adolescence, and much of my childhood. This culminated with literally life-saving gastric bypass surgery twenty years ago. This issue is personal. I’m still fighting it at 52, and actually pondering these medications, but also realizing that fewer beers and a couple more sessions at the YMCA every week would go a long way toward the goal.