Semet Lickstein Morgenstern Berger Friend Brooke & Gordon, P.A. v. Sawada

643 So. 2d 1188 (1994)

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Semet Lickstein Morgenstern Berger Friend Brooke & Gordon, P.A. v. Sawada

Florida District Court of Appeal
643 So. 2d 1188 (1994)

Facts

Nabuo Sawada (defendant), a Japanese citizen, hired the law firm of Semet Lickstein Morgenstern Berger Friend Brooke & Gordon, P.A. (SLM) (plaintiff) to represent him in a variety of legal proceedings. Sawada failed to pay SLM for its work. SLM then sued Sawada in Dade County, Florida, to enforce payment. In accordance with the requirements of the Hague Convention, SLM had the summons and complaint translated into Japanese and sent the translated papers to the Japanese District Court (JDC) to effect service-of-process on Sawada. Japan had designated the JDC as the Central Authority for receipt of service on behalf of Japanese nationals under the Hague Convention. The JDC then arranged for the Japanese postal service to serve Sawada at his former business address. Pursuant to instructions Sawada provided to the postal service, the papers sent to Sawada’s former business address were forwarded to Sawada’s father. The Japanese postal service completed an affidavit-of-service, had the affidavit-of-service translated into English, and then conveyed the affidavit-of-service to the Florida trial court. Sawada entered a special appearance and moved to dismiss based on defective service-of-process, arguing that the service-of-process was invalid because he had not resided in Japan during the three months immediately preceding service. Sawada did not provide his current address. The Florida trial court granted Sawada’s motion-to-dismiss. SLM appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Jorgenson, J.)

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