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Sunday, May 27, 2012

That Pesky International Lawsuit! (Series 1 of 3)

International Service of Process 

It is increasingly common for US companies to do business with entities around the globe. For many, international trade is critical to remaining competitive in the US marketplace. But what if something goes wrong with a foreign product? What if a new line of office chairs the company imported from India collapses under its customers? What if the factory machine it purchased in Taiwan injures a company employee on the job? What if subsequent letters to the foreign manufacturer demanding compensation or indemnification go unanswered? The answer is that the US company faces some tough choices, including whether to file a claim or – if the US company is itself being sued – a cross-claim that will bring the foreign manufacturer into US court. How is this done? Once a complaint is filed in the appropriate venue, the US plaintiff is required to notify the foreign defendant that a lawsuit is pending against it. Until this service of process takes place, the action cannot proceed. Domestically, this type of notice is a relatively straightforward matter: a process server, constable or sheriff typically hand-delivers the court papers to an officer of the defendant corporation and swears out an affidavit of service. Internationally, however, who may serve process and how service may be effected is a complex matter, governed by multiple (often conflicting) sets of legal rules. 

In my next edition we'll get into the particulars and some examples, until then, here is a list of states/countries that as of January 2012 have signed the Hague Service Convention.

They include 54 of the 72 Hague Conference on Private International Law member states, plus Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Botswana, Kuwait, Malawi,Pakistan, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, San Marino, and Seychelles. If you company your doing business with isn't in either of these lands....buyer/seller BEWARE!
  • Albania
  • Antigua
  • Barbuda
  • Argentina 
  • Albania
  • Antigua and Barbuda
  • Argentina
  • Australia
  • Bahamas
  • Barbados
  • Belarus
  • Belgium
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • Belize
  • Botswana
  • Bulgaria
  • Canada
  • China
  • Croatia
  • Cyprus
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • Egypt
  • Estonia
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Hungary
  • Iceland
  • India
  • Ireland
  • Israel
  • Italy
  • Japan
  • Korea
  • Kuwait
  • Latvia
  • Lithuania
  • Luxembourg
  • Macedonia
  • Malawi
  • Malta
  • Montenegro
  • Mexico
  • Monaco
  • Kingdom of the Netherlands
  • Morocco
  • Norway
  • Pakistan
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Romania
  • Russian Federation
  • Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
  • San Marino
  • Serbia
  • Seychelles
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia
  • Spain
  • Sri Lanka
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • Turkey
  • Ukraine
  • United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
  • United States of America
  • Venezuela

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