Thursday, May 12, 2016

Case of the Day: Carrico v. Samsung Elec. Co., 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 62454 (N.D. Cal. May 10, 2016)


The case arises from an automobile accident that occurred in Half Moon Bay, California on May 11, 2014. The individual defendant Yoonhwa Park, an employee of Samsung Electronics, struck the two plaintiffs with a car rented from Hertz Corporation. The plaintiffs sued the individual, Samsung and Hertz. (Hertz were later dropped from the case, as were other affiliates of Samsung.)

The plaintiffs attempted to serve Park three times under the Hague Convention, and were unsuccessful because she had moved. Plaintiffs asked if Samsung would accept service on Park's behalf, but Samsung declined. (Correctly, the court notes, since Samsung has an obvious conflict with Park as to whether Park was acting within the scope of her employment.) Then the plaintiff moved to serve Park's U.S.-based attorney under Rule 4(f)(3) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. The court granted the motion.


The fact pattern is here is not unusual, but look at the time it took simply to serve the individual. Two years just to begin the litigation! In retrospect, it appears that the plaintiffs could have made the Rule 4(f) motion after the first Hague Convention attempt failed. What should have been a fairly routine personal injury case can become much more complicated when the defendant is not a U.S. resident. In such a case, attorneys who are experts in handling personal injury cases can be at a loss because they are not accustomed to dealing with the Hague Convention procedures.

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