Ackermann v. Levine
United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
788 F.2d 830 (1986)
Peter Ackermann (plaintiff), a German lawyer, sued Ira Levine (defendant), an American businessman, in Germany. Service of process upon Levine in the Germany action was accomplished by the Hague Convention on the Service Abroad of Judicial and Extrajudicial Documents in Civil or Commercial Matters (the Hague Service Convention). Both Germany and the United States had ratified the Hague Service Convention and agreed to follow that treaty’s service rules without limitation. In accordance with the treaty, the German court sent the summons and complaint to the German consulate in New York. The German consulate then forwarded the papers via registered mail to Levine’s residence. The papers were received and signed for by an employee of Levine’s apartment building, a person of suitable age and discretion. Levine failed to appear in the Germany action, and Ackermann obtained a default judgment. Ackermann then filed suit in a federal district court in New York, seeking to enforce the foreign default judgment. Levine objected, arguing that the foreign default judgment was invalid because Ackermann had failed to give Levine adequate notice of the Germany action. The district court agreed with Levine and declined to enforce the foreign default judgment on the ground that service of process of the summons and complaint in the Germany action was ineffective under the Hague Service Convention and failed to comply with both federal and state law. Ackermann appealed.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Pierce, J.)
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