Iowa Court Can Require Local Counsel to Accept Service of Process

Iowa case law summary by Attorney Richard Clem: service of process.

Tammie Ackelson v. Manley Toys Ltd. and Toy Quest Ltd., and Robin Drak and Heather Miller v. Manley Toys Ltd. and Toy Quest Ltd.. IA service of process

In this appeal from Warren County, the Iowa Court of Appeals held that the district court had authority to order Iowa counsel to accept service of process on behalf of two foreign entities being sued in Iowa. The plaintiffs had attempted service through the Hague Convention, and a bailiff in Hong Kong had effected service upon a particular employee. But the service was later quashed, since the company produced evidence that it had no employee by that name.

The Court of Appeals held that the plaintiffs need not continue attempting "futile efforts ad infinitum merely because there is some metaphysical possibility the plaintiffs might be able to serve the defendants. The reality is the plaintiffs already have exerted susbstantial effort and money" but that the evidence tended to show that the defendants "are engaged in corporate three-card monte for the sole purpose of evading service of process and evading potential liability for their conduct."

The court noted that under the facts of the case, the defendants were not deprived of due process.

No. 14-0469 (Iowa Ct. App. Aug. 19, 2015).

Please see the original opinion for the court's exact language.


Richard P. Clem is an attorney and continuing legal education (CLE) provider in Minnesota. He has been in private practice in the Twin Cities for 25 years. He has a J.D., cum laude, from Hamline University School of Law in St. Paul and a B.A. in History from the University of Minnesota. His reported cases include: Asociacion Nacional de Pescadores a Pequena Escala o Artesanales de Colombia v. Dow Quimica de Colombia, 988 F.2d 559, rehearing denied, 5 F.3d 530 (5th Cir. 1993), cert. denied, 510 U.S. 1041 (1994); LaMott v. Apple Valley Health Care Center, 465 N.W.2d 585 (Minn. Ct. App. 1991); Abo el Ela v. State, 468 N.W.2d 580 (Minn. Ct. App. 1991).

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