Service of Process Abroad

Latest trend in litigation nationwide: tire manufacturers, worldwide, sued in the United States for price fixing. These suits are huge, wrangling some of the world’s best known manufacturers from Italy to Germany to Finland to Japan… but the fact that they’re brought under the Sherman Act has no connection to the method by which

Nope. Pull it.

A habit I got into a few years ago: yank the second page of the standard federal Summons in a Civil Action (Form AO440) before sending it overseas for service. That’s the Proof of Service page– a simple set of check boxes and blanks that are completed by a process server when it’s served in Philly, Boston, or Baltimore.

Why do I pull it? Simple. It’s not the proper form to prove service abroad, whether pursuant to Article 5 of the Hague Service Convention or not.Continue Reading If it’s going abroad, pull the second page of the AO440.

At least once or twice a month, when I deliver the bad news that service on an offshore defendant will cost several thousand dollars and take several months– if not a couple of years— a prospective client will decide that the better way to go is to seek an order for alternative service, usually

Once or twice a month, a client will call or email me expressing incredulous frustration that it takes Swiss or French or German authorities two or three months to return a proof of service following a Hague Service Convention request. Or even worse, that it takes Mexican or Chinese or Indian authorities a year or

Send your request in duplicate to the Central Authority.

Read that to yourself again, but this time, do it in the accent of General Alexei Anatoly Gogol.*

Send your request in duplicate to the Central Authority.

No, this is not a command from a Soviet spy chief. It’s just what we need to do when submitting a Request for service pursuant to Article 5 of the Hague Service Convention, instruction taken quite literally from Article 3. The term Central Authority merely refers to the agency (or agencies) designated by member countries to receive those requests. It shouldn’t conjure images of some nefarious Cold War-era black ops outfit behind the Iron Curtain, like the Stasi or KGB. In just about all countries, the designated Central Authority is a regular government agency, usually a court or counterpart to the U.S. Departments of State or Justice.Continue Reading What is a Central Authority?