A Common Service Error

Since the enactment of the FSIA, plaintiffs have repeatedly attempted to serve foreign states via their embassies in Washington, D.C.  That is the wrong approach.  The FSIA does not provide for service via an embassy (cf. 28 U.S.C. § 1608(a)), and indeed such service is inconsistent with international law.  As demonstrated by a recent case from the United States District Court for the Eastern District of California, any attempt to serve via a foreign state’s embassy will be quashed by the court.  See Rhuma v. Libya, 2:13-CV-2286 LKK AC, 2014 WL 1665042, at *4 (E.D. Cal. Apr. 24, 2014) (“personal service on a foreign state’s embassy fails to comply with Section 1608(a)”); see also, e.g., BPA Intern., Inc. v. Kingdom of Sweden, 281 F. Supp. 2d 73, 84 (D.D.C. 2003) (personal service on Embassy of Sweden was insufficient under 28 U.S.C. § 1608(a)); Ibiza Business Ltd. v. U.S., 2010 WL 2788169, at *2 (D.D.C. 2010) (personal service on Brazilian Embassy was insufficient pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1608(a)).

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