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Huawei Technologies USA, Inc. v. Oliveira

United States District Court, E.D. Texas, Sherman Division

July 19, 2019

HUAWEI TECHNOLOGIES USA, INC. and HUAWEI DEVICE USA, INC. Plaintiffs,
v.
RUI PEDRO OLIVEIRA Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          KIMBERLY C. PRIEST JOHNSON, UNITED STATES MA&ISTRATE JUDGE

         Pending before the Court is Plaintiffs Huawei Technologies USA, Inc. and Huawei Device USA, Inc.'s (together, “Plaintiffs”) Motion for Service of Process (the “Motion”) (Dkt. 5). In the Motion, Plaintiffs request the Court allow service of process on Defendant Rui Pedro Oliveira (“Defendant”) by mail at his business address in Portugal. See Dkt. 5 at 1. Plaintiffs also request permission to serve Defendant's counsel by email and Defendant by email at his business email address. See id.

         Having reviewed the Motion, the record in this case, and the applicable law, the Motion (Dkt. 5) is hereby GRANTED.

         I. BACKGROUND

         Plaintiffs have attempted to serve Defendant. See Dkt. 5 at 2. On March 28, 2019, Plaintiffs sent the Complaint to George Neuner (“Neuner”), Defendant's U.S. counsel, but Neuner responded stating he was not authorized to accept service. See Dkt. 5-7 at 2-3. On April 16, 2019, Plaintiffs asked Neuner if Defendant would waive service of process, but Neuner did not agree to waive service. See Dkt. 5-8 at 2-3. Plaintiffs then asked Neuner to provide Defendant's address, and Neuner replied, stating, “I am not in a position to provide an address for service.” Id. Plaintiffs state they requested the address because they had reason to believe Defendant had recently sold his house. See Dkt. 5 at 2 (citing a news article claiming Defendant sold his house to finance a lawsuit). Plaintiffs contend Defendant is aware of this lawsuit. See Dkt. 5 at 2. On May 21, 2019, Neuner sent an email at Defendant's direction which referenced both the lawsuit and “ED Texas.” See Dkt. 5-6 at 2-3.

         Plaintiffs state that Defendant can be reached through his business email, by mail at his business address, and through his attorney. See Dkt. 5 at 2. Defendant is the CEO of a company named “Imaginew, ” and Imaginew's website provides Defendant's email address and a physical address for the company. See Id. at 2-3. Plaintiffs contend Neuner should also be able to receive process since Plaintiffs have been in communication with Neuner as recently as May 31, 2019. See Dkt. 5-9.

         II. ANALYSIS

         Insufficient process and insufficient service of process implicate a court's authority to exercise personal jurisdiction over a defendant. Murphy Bros., Inc. v. Michetti Pipe Stringing, Inc., 526 U.S. 344, 350 (1999) (“Before a . . . court may exercise personal jurisdiction over a defendant, the procedural requirement of service of summons must be satisfied.”). Rule 4 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure sets forth the guidelines to determine what constitutes valid service of process. Fed.R.Civ.P. 4. Under Rule 4(f), an individual in a foreign country (such as Defendant) may be served:

(1) by any internationally agreed means of service that is reasonably calculated to give notice, such as those authorized by the Hague Convention on the Service Abroad of Judicial and Extrajudicial Documents;
(2) if there is no internationally agreed means, or if an international agreement allows but does not specify other means, by a method that is reasonably calculated to give notice:
(A) as prescribed by the foreign country's law for service in that country in an action in its courts of general jurisdiction;
(B) as the foreign authority directs in response to a letter rogatory or letter of request; or
(C) unless prohibited by the foreign country's law, by:
(i) delivering a copy of the summons and of the complaint to the ...

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