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Volkswagenwerk Aktiengesellschaft v. Schlunk

486 U.S. 694 (1988)

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Volkswagenwerk Aktiengesellschaft v. Schlunk

United States Supreme Court

486 U.S. 694 (1988)

Facts

The parents of Herwig Schlunk (plaintiff) were killed in a car accident. Schlunk filed a wrongful-death action in Illinois state court against Volkswagen of America, Inc. (Volkswagen) alleging that Volkswagen had designed and sold the vehicle. After Volkswagen answered denying that it had designed or built the vehicle, Schlunk filed an amended complaint adding Volkswagenwerk Aktiengesellschaft (Volkswagenwerk) (defendant) as a defendant. Volkswagen was a wholly owned subsidiary of Volkswagenwerk, a German company based in Germany. Schlunk served the amended complaint on Volkswagen as Volkswagenwerk’s agent, in accordance with Illinois law, which permitted such substituted service on a foreign entity by serving its wholly owned domestic subsidiary. Volkswagenwerk entered a special appearance and moved to quash service, arguing that it could only be served in accordance with the Convention on Service Abroad of Judicial and Extrajudicial Documents in Civil and Commercial Matters (the Hague Convention). The trial court denied the motion, holding that the Hague Convention did not apply because Volkswagenwerk had been properly served in the United States and did not need to be served abroad.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (O’Connor, J.)

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