The case of the day is National Asset Loan Management, Ltd. v. McCann (Pa. Super. Ct. 2015). NALM sued John McCann in the Irish High Court. McCann resided in Northern Ireland, so NALM sought to serve him with process via the Northern Ireland courts. When that failed, he obtained an order from the Irish courts for substituted service on McCann’s solicitors in Ireland. After NALM effected the substituted service, McCann appeared in the Irish action and moved to set aside the order for substituted service. The court denied the motion, and McCann then defaulted. The High Court entered a default judgment. McCann moved to set the default judgment aside, but the High Court denied the motion; McCann’s appeal in Ireland is still pending. NALM then sought recognition of the judgment in the Court of Common Pleas in Philadelphia. The court recognized the judgment, and McCann appealed, arguing that the judgment should not have been recognized because the Irish court had lacked personal jurisdiction over him. (There were some other issues, too, which I am not going to cover).
Under Section 5 of the UFCMJRA, a judgment cannot be refused recognition on the grounds of lack of personal jurisdiction if the defendant voluntarily appeared in the underlying action, other than for purposes of “protecting property seized or threatened with seizure in the proceeding or of contesting the jurisdiction of the court over the defendant.” McCann’s voluntary appearance for the purpose of seeking to set aside the default judgment was enough to make it impossible for McCann to challenge the Irish court’s personal jurisdiction in Pennsylvania recognition proceedings.
The video from International Law Week 2021 on “Rethinking the Service of Documents in Cross-Border Transactions” is here!