This court issued an OSC in response to this petition for writ of mandate because it presents an issue of some public importance that has not yet been squarely faced by a California state court, in a published opinion, in this particular context: The question of whether a Japanese manufacturer can be served under California law simply by serving the Japanese manufacturer’s American subsidiary. The trial court ruled that a Japanese manufacturer could indeed be validly served that way. The method just seemed too easy a way to get around the Hague Service Convention and we scheduled an OSC on the petition to give us the chance to study the issue.
On review, however, it turns out that, yes, it really is that easy. And not only that, there is nothing this court, as a matter of California common law, can do about it. We are a court under authority, and there is a non-overruled, non-distinguishable California Supreme Court case, Cosper v. Smith & Wesson Arms Co. (1959) 53 Cal.2d 77, that makes service on the California representative of a foreign parent valid — that is, valid as to the foreign parent — under California law. And not only that, but there is a 1988 federal United States Supreme Court case, Volkswagenwerk Aktiengesellschaft v. Schlunk, supra, 486 U.S. 694 (Schlunk), that says when service is valid under state law on the American subsidiary of a foreign manufacturer, there is no need to serve papers in accord with the Hague Service Convention. Accordingly, we have no choice but to deny the petition for writ of mandate.
The following link will take you to the published decision. http://bit.ly/h5kbj