Water Splash v. Menon: The Question Presented Calls For Caution

In Water Splash v. Menon, the Supreme Court will resolve the longstanding circuit split about whether Article 10(a) of the Hague Service Convention allows service of process by mail. As I noted in my post on Multisports USA v. TheHut.com, there’s a difficulty in the way the question on cert. has been presented. The question, as it appears in the petition, is: “Does the Hague Service Convention authorize service of process by mail?” The key word, the problematic word, is “authorize.” The question presented in the case is whether Article 10(a) has anything at all to do with service of process by mail or whether it only applies to service of documents other than the summons or other process. But the word “authorized” raises an entirely different question, on which there is also a (possible) circuit split but which is not part of the case before the court.

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Case of the Day: Multisports USA v. TheHut.com

Scrooge's Third Visitor
Letters Blogatory wishes its readers a merry Christmas! Credit: Soerfm

The case of the day is Multisports USA v. The Hut.com Ltd. (S.D. Fla. 2016). Multisports sued TheHut.com Ltd., a UK company, for tortious interference in business relationships. The claim was that The Hut.com had tortiously interfered in Multisports’ relationship with Compressport, for which it acted as exclusive US distributor of sports merchandise. Multisports attempted to serve process on TheHut.com by mail, apparently sent by Multisports or its lawyers rather than by the clerk. TheHut.com moved to dismiss for insufficient service of process.

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Case of the Day: In re Schlich

Diagram of the CRISPR prokaryotic antiviral defense mechanism

Diagram of the CRISPR prokaryotic antiviral defense mechanism. Credit: James Atmos

The case of the day is In re Schlich (D. Mass. 2016). It arises out of competing claims to invention of CRISPR/Cas9, a new gene editing technology that has gotten a lot of attention in the popular press. Jennifer Doudna of UC Berkeley and her collaborator, Emmanuelle Charpentier, claimed to be the inventors, and Doudna’s company, Intellia Therapeutics, brought an opposition proceeding in Europe seeking to invalidate patents obtained there by the Broad Institute, listing another group of putative inventors, Feng Zhang, Le Cong, Patrick Hsu, and Fei Ran.

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Hague Securities Convention Will Soon Come Into Force

GM specimen stock certificate

I remember receiving a gift of a few shares of stock in some large company or other when I was a kid. I received an engraved certificate with the company’s logo, my name, and a lot of legalese that at the time I couldn’t decipher. The naive thought, of course, is that the piece of paper is the share of stock. But of course, the certificate is not the thing itself—it is just evidence of the holder’s rights. And even at the time of the gift (in the late ’70s, I imagine, or the early ’80s) most shares weren’t held or traded using such certificates. Instead, they were held in the name of securities intermediaries, whose books and records reflected the underlying beneficial interests in the shares that were represented by certificates issued in the intermediaries’ names. Or else, more usually, the beneficial owners’ interests were reflected on the books and records of a broker, whose interest was reflected on a single master certificate held by the Depository Trust Co., a sort of master clearinghouse for US securities transactions.

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Case of the Day: SEC v. Dubovoy

The case of the day is Securities & Exchange Commission v. Dubovoy (D.N.J. 2016). The SEC sued Nikolai Slepenkov and Maxim Zakharchenko, both Russian nationals, alleging violations of § 17(a) of the Securities Act of 1933 and §§ 10(b), 20(b), and 20(e) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. The claim was that Ukrainian hackers hacked into wire service computers and stole not-yet-public press releases, which they passed to traders such as Slepenkov and Zakharchenko, who then traded illegally on the information. The traders, including Slepenkov and Zakharchenko, allegedly made $100 million in profit over the life of the scheme. The SEC sought leave to serve process on the two by email.

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Case of the Day: Igartúa v. Obama

Reverse of Puerto Rico quarter

The case of the day is Igartúa v. Obama (1st Cir. 2016). Long-time readers know I have been writing about the First Circuit’s (and the Supreme Court’s) Puerto Rico status cases for a while. In the latest case, Gregoria Igartúa, a US citizen residing in Puerto Rico, and the litigant who has been raising issues of Puerto Rico’s status for years, in a series of cases, claims that he was denied a constitutional right to elect representatives from Puerto Rico to the U.S. House of Representatives and that the district court erred by refusing to convene a three-judge court to hear his claim. The First Circuit previously rejected both claims in Igartúa v. United States, 626 F.3d 592 (1st Cir. 2010), and in that case, the full court denied a petition for en banc review and the Supreme Court denied a petition for certiorari.


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Case of the Day: Schubarth v. Germany

J.S. Bach
A famous son of Thuringia.

The case of the day is Schubarth v. Federal Republic of Germany (D.D.C. 2016). The plaintiff, Mady Marieluise Schubarth, inherited 500 acres of land in Thuringia, Germany. She alleged that the land was expropriated by the East German government in 1945. After reunification, she applied to the Thuringia government for restitution, but she was dissatisfied with the award. In 1995, she applied for additional compensation under German law, claiming that under the treaty of friendship, commerce, and navigation between the United States and Germany (she was a US citizen), she was entitled to the fair market value of the land at the time of the expropriation. In 2014—nineteen years later!—the Thuringia government awarded her approximately € 35,000 in compensation, which she asserted was still not nearly enough. She sued in Washington.

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