United States District Court, S.D. Florida
SMITH UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
CAUSE came before the Court on Plaintiff Wood
Mountain Fish LLC's Motion for Approval of Plan for
Alternative Service of Process on Norwegian Defendants and
Incorporated Memorandum of Law (ECF No. 26). In its Motion,
Plaintiff requests that the Court authorize alternative
service of process on six Norwegian Defendants involved in this
suit (“Norwegian Defendants”). (See Mot.
at 1). Plaintiff proposes serving the Norwegian Defendants by
email, by digital publication on a specially created website,
and by service on U.S. subsidiary offices. (See Id.
Norwegian Defendants are all residents of Norway. Each of the
Defendants “is a major international business that
conducts substantial business by email and maintains
well-kept webpages in the English language.”
(Id. at 9). These Defendants operate numerous
websites that are accessible to current and prospective
buyers of farm-raised Atlantic Salmon and use electronic
means as a reliable form of communication. (See
Silton Decl., ¶¶ 5, 8, 11, 13, 18, 23). The
Norwegian Defendants' email addresses are operational and
a reliable means of communicating with them. (See
Silton Decl., ¶¶ 6-7, 14-18). Additionally,
Plaintiff has created a publication website located at
where copies of the Complaint and all other documents on file
in this action will be displayed. (See Silton Decl.,
Rule of Civil Procedure 4(f)(3) authorizes a district court
to order an alternate method for service to be effected upon
foreign defendants provided it is not prohibited by
international agreement and is reasonably calculated to give
notice to the defendants. See Fed. R. Civ. P.
4(f)(3); see also Karsten Mfg. Corp. v. Store, No.
18-CIV-61624, 2018 WL 8060707, at *1 (S.D. Fla. July 26,
2018) (authorizing alternative service of process via email
and digital publication); Brookshire Bros., Ltd. v.
Chiquita Brands Int'l, Inc., No. 05-CIV-21962, 2007
WL 1577771, at *2 (S.D. Fla. May 31, 2007) (“[D]istrict
courts have broad discretion under Rule 4(f)(3) to authorize
other methods of service that are consistent with due process
and are not prohibited by international agreements.”)
(citing Prewitt Enters., Inc. v. Org. of Petroleum
Exporting Countries, 353 F.3d 916, 921, 927 (11th Cir.
by email or publication is not prohibited under international
agreement in this case. (See Mot. at 6). Both the
United States and Norway are signatories to The Hague
Convention on the Service Abroad of Extra-Judicial Documents
in Civil and Commercial Matters, Nov. 15, 1965, 20 U.S.T. 361
(the “Hague Convention”), which does not
specifically preclude service by email or publication.
See Karsten, 2018 WL 8060707, at *1. Where a
signatory nation has objected to the alternative means of
service provided by Section 10 of The Hague Convention, that
objection is expressly limited to those means listed in the
objection and does not represent a blanket objection to other
forms of service, such as email or publication. See
Id. at *2 (authorizing service by email and publication)
(citing Stat Med. Devices, Inc. v. HTL-Strefa, Inc.,
No. 15-cv- 20590, 2015 WL 5320947, at *3 (S.D. Fla. Sept. 14,
2015) (authorizing service by email)). A court acting under
Rule 4(f)(3) therefore remains free to order alternative
means of service where a signatory nation has not expressly
objected to those means. See Karsten, 2018 WL
8060707, at *2 (citing Gurung v. Malhotra, 279
F.R.D. 215, 219 (S.D.N.Y. 2011)). Accordingly, service by
email, publication, or through a subsidiary does not violate
an international agreement. Service through a subsidiary is
also sufficient to satisfy Rule 4(f)(3) because it does not
violate The Hague Convention. See In re Cathode Ray Tube
Antitrust Litig., No. 07-5944, 2008 WL 4104341 (N.D.
Cal. Sept. 3, 2008) (authorizing service of foreign defendant
through domestic subsidiary and counsel); In re LDK Solar
Sec. Litig., No. C 07-05182, 2008 WL 2415186 (N.D. Cal.
June 12, 2008) (authorizing service on local subsidiary).
service plan is reasonably calculated to give notice to the
foreign Defendants. Plaintiff cites numerous cases where
courts have authorized plaintiffs to serve foreign defendants
through email, publication, and a subsidiary. (See
Mot. at 8-13) (listing cases authorizing service via email
and then listing cases authorizing service on a subsidiary).
Similar to those cited cases, here too (1) Defendants conduct
a majority of their business over the Internet; (2)
Defendants routinely use email to conduct their business; (3)
Defendants have subsidiaries in the United States that have a
sufficiently close relationship to the Defendant parent
companies; and (4) Plaintiff shows that email is likely to
reach Defendants. See Karsten, 2018 WL 8060707, at
*2 (citing Rio Props. Inc. v. Rio Int'l
Interlink, 284 F.3d 1007, 1017-18 (9th Cir. 2002)).
Plaintiff has shown good cause why leave should be granted to
allow service of summonses, the Complaint, and all subsequent
filings in this matter upon the six Norwegian Defendants via
e-mail or digital publication.
foregoing reasons, it is
AND ADJUDGED that Plaintiffs Motion for Approval of
Plan for Alternative Service of Process on Norwegian
Defendants and Incorporated Memorandum of Law (ECF No. 26) is
GRANTED as follows:
1. Plaintiff may serve summons, a copy of the Complaint, and
all other future filings in this matter upon each Norwegian
Defendant via the email addresses provided by that Defendant
(i) as part of the data related to its online marketing,
advertising, sales and website, including customer service
email address and onsite contact form; or (ii) via its sales
agents in the United States listed on the website for each
domain name; and
2. Plaintiff may serve summons, a copy of the Complaint, and
all other future filings in this matter upon the Norwegian
Defendants via publication by posting a copy of the same on
the website available at