GCIU-Employer Retirement Fund v. Coleridge Fine Arts
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER denying 11 Motion to Quash. Signed by District Judge Eric F. Melgren on 2/12/2015. (cm)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF KANSAS
GCIU-EMPLOYER RETIREMENT FUND
AND BOARD OF TRUSTEEES OF THE
GCUI-EMPLOYER RETIREMENT FUND,
Case No. 14-2303-EFM-GLR
COLERIDGE FINE ARTS,
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
On June 25, 2014, Plaintiffs GCIU-Employer Retirement Fund and its Board of Trustees
filed this lawsuit against Defendant Coleridge Fine Arts, an Irish entity. Defendant seeks to
quash Plaintiffs’ allegedly defective service of process contending that Plaintiffs failed to follow
the Hague Convention provisions and failed to follow Irish law. Because the Court finds that
Plaintiffs properly effectuated service on Defendant, the Court denies Defendant’s motion and
does not quash Plaintiffs’ service of process.
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 4(f) and 4(h) govern service on corporations in a foreign
country. Fed. R. Civ. P. 4(h)(2) provides that a foreign corporation “not within any judicial
district of the United States” may be served in “any manner prescribed by Rule 4(f) for serving
an individual, except personal delivery under (f)(2)(C)(i).” In turn, Fed. R. Civ. P. 4(f)(1) states
that when service is effectuated “at a place not within any judicial district of the United States,”
it can be done “by any internationally agreed means of service that is reasonably calculated to
give notice, such as those authorized by the Hague Convention on the Service Abroad of Judicial
and Extrajudicial Documents.” The United States and Ireland are both parties to the Hague
Convention, and the parties both assert and agree that Defendant must be served in accordance
with the Hague Convention.
There are several ways to accomplish service under the Hague Convention. The primary
method of service is for a party to mail process to the Central Authority, and the Central
Authority then effects service on the corporation according to local law.1 Defendant argues that
because Plaintiffs did not effectuate service through this method, Plaintiffs failed to properly
serve Defendant pursuant to the Hague Convention.
There are, however, alternate means to serve a foreign defendant under the Hague
Convention. Specifically, Article 10 states
Provided the State of destination does not object, the present Convention shall not
interfere with –
(a) the freedom to send judicial documents, by postal channels, directly to
(b) the freedom of judicial officers, officials or other competent persons of the
State of origin to effect service of judicial documents directly through the
judicial officers, officials or other competent persons of the State of
The Convention on the Service Abroad of Judicial and Extrajudicial Documents in Civil or Commercial
Matters, Nov. 15, 1965 (the Hague Convention), arts. 2 through 6, 20 U.S.T. 361, T.I.A.S. No. 6638, 1969 WL
(c) the freedom of any person interested in a judicial proceeding to effect
service of judicial documents directly through the judicial officers,
officials or other competent persons of the State of destination.2
Ireland has objected, in part, to Article 10.
In accordance with the provision in Article 10 of the Convention the Government
of Ireland objects to
the freedom under Article 10(b) of judicial officers, officials or other
competent persons of the State of origin to effect service in Ireland of
judicial documents directly through judicial officers, officials or other
competent persons and
the freedom under Article 10(c) of any person interested in a judicial
proceeding to effect service in Ireland of judicial documents through
judicial officers, officials or other competent persons,
but this is not intended to preclude any person in another Contracting State who is
interested in a judicial proceeding (including his lawyer) from effecting service in
Ireland directly through a solicitor in Ireland.3
Plaintiffs contend that they used Article 10 of the convention and completed service of
process directly through a solicitor in Ireland and in accordance with Irish law. Specifically,
Plaintiffs provide an affidavit from an individual, Audrey Burke, who states that she is an Irish
solicitor at the firm Dillon Eustace in Dublin, Ireland.4 She avers that her firm accepted the
assignment to effect service of legal process on Defendant and that she caused the documents to
be served upon Defendant pursuant to the rules of Ireland. Thus, it appears that Plaintiffs
complied with Article 10 of the Hague Convention in effecting service on Defendant.
Hague Convention, art. 10. See also DeJames v. Magnificence Carriers, Inc., 654 F.2d 280, 288 (3d Cir.
1981) (discussing that the Hague Convention allows service by other means so long as the receiving nation does not
object to the method used).
Hague Conference on Private International Law Conference, Ireland Declarations Reservations,
http://www.hcch.net/index_en.php?act=status.comment&csid=404&disp=resdn (last visited on February 10, 2015).
Plaintiffs engaged APS International, Ltd., a company that performs international service of process, who
in turn retained the services of Dillon Eustace.
Defendant argues that even if Plaintiffs complied with Article 10 of the Hague
Convention, Plaintiffs failed to serve it in accordance with Irish law because Plaintiffs failed to
serve the papers on the proper individual.5 Defendant contends that Plaintiffs failed to comply
with the Ireland Rules of the Superior Courts, Order 9(II)(7), because they did not serve the head
officer, clerk, treasurer, or secretary of the corporation, but instead served the receptionist.
Defendants, however, fail to cite to the entire rule. Order 9(II)(7) provides:
In the absence of any statutory provision regulating service, every summons
issued against a corporation aggregate may be served on the mayor or other head
officer, or on the town clerk, clerk, treasurer, or secretary of such corporation . . .
and where, by any statute, provision is made for service of any proceedings upon
any corporation, or upon any society or fellowship, or any body or number of
persons, whether corporate or incorporate, every summons may be served in the
manner so provided.6
Thus, pursuant to Order 9(II)(7), if there is a statutory provision regulating service of any
proceedings upon a corporation, a summons may be served in the manner provided by that
statute. Indeed, Plaintiffs contend that they effectuated service properly pursuant to the Irish
Companies Act of 1963.
Pursuant to Part XV, Section 379, of the Irish Companies Act, “[a] document may be
served on a company by leaving it at or sending it by post to the registered office of the company
. . . .”7 The statute does not require a specific individual to be served with the document. Instead,
the statute states that the document may be served on a company by leaving it at its registered
In Defendant’s reply, Defendant appears to abandon its previous argument that service was improper
because Plaintiffs did not comply with Article 5 of the Hague Convention.
Document (last visited February 10, 2015).
[Irish] Companies Act, 1963, Part XV, section 379, Service of documents on a company,
http://www.irishstatutebook.ie/1963/en/act/pub/0033/sec0379.html#sec379 (last visited on February 10, 2015).
office. Plaintiffs provide evidence that they served the Complaint at Defendant’s registered
office. Thus, Plaintiffs effected service in compliance with the Hague Convention and with Irish
law. Accordingly, the Court denies Defendant’s motion and does not quash service of process.
IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED that Defendant’s Motion to Quash Defective Service
of Process (Doc. 11) is hereby DENIED.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
Dated this 12th day of February, 2015.
ERIC F. MELGREN
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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