Case of the Day: Gregor v. Otuorimuo

The case of the day is Gregor v. Otuorimuo (Conn. Super. Ct. 2016). The case was a divorce case. husband and the wife were married in Connecticut in 2011. The husband sued for a divorce, asserting that there had been an irretrievable breakdown in the marriage. The wife was living in Nigeria. The husband tried unsuccessfully to serve process by mail and then served process by publication. After the court decreed a dissolution of the marriage, the wife sought to vacate the judgment on the grounds of insufficiency of service of process. The court granted the motion.

This decision would seem entirely unremarkable, except that the wife argued, and the judge apparently accepted, that the service had to comply with the Hague Service Convention. Nigeria is not a party to the Convention. So I really am not sure what the judge was thinking. Obviously the Convention poses no bar to service by publication where the defendant is in a non-Convention state. To the extent the judge thought that the Convention applies to service of process anywhere in the world because it is mentioned in a Connecticut statue providing that service cannot be made in violation of the Convention, he made a mistake that should not be repeated.

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