The Convention on the Service Abroad of Judicial and Extrajudicial Documents in Civil or Commercial Matters (“Hague Service Convention” or “Convention”), was designed to simplify and standardize the service of legal documents across international borders. But for decades, U.S. courts divided over a seemingly simple question: does the Hague Service Convention prohibit service by mail?
In today’s litigation practice, a defendant often receives a copy of a filed complaint before it is formally served with the pleading. Sometimes, plaintiff’s counsel emails a copy to the defendant’s counsel after filing. If it is a particularly newsworthy lawsuit, an employee or officer of a corporate defendant may download a copy of the filed complaint from a news website. Or someone may post a copy of the complaint on social media.
Article III of the U.S. Constitution extends the jurisdiction of federal courts to “[c]ontroversies … between Citizens of different States.” U.S. Const. art. III, § 2, cl. 1. “This rule is easy enough to apply to humans, but can become metaphysical when applied to legal entities.” Americold Realty Trust v. ConAgra Foods, Inc.