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JOHN J. SANDOVAL v. HONDA MOTOR CO. (06/16/87)

filed: June 16, 1987.

JOHN J. SANDOVAL, AN INDIVIDUAL
v.
HONDA MOTOR CO., LTD., A CORPORATION, AMERICAN HONDA MOTOR CO. INC., A CORPORATION AND DUNBAR MOTORS INC. T/A DUNBAR HONDA, A CORPORATION. APPEAL OF HONDA MOTOR COMPANY, LTD.



Appeal from the Order Entered October 9, 1986 in the Court of Common Pleas of Westmoreland County, Civil, No. 133 of 1986.

COUNSEL

Scott Redman, Pittsburgh, for appellant.

Edgar D. Harr, Greensburg, for Dunbar Motors, appellee.

Cirillo, President Judge, and Montemuro and Tamilia, JJ.

Author: Cirillo

[ 364 Pa. Super. Page 138]

This is an appeal from an order of the Court of Common Pleas of Westmoreland County denying the preliminary objections of Honda Motor Company. We affirm.

Appellee, John Sandoval brought a tort action against appellant, Honda Motor Company (Honda) for injuries caused by an accident in July of 1986. Sandoval sent a copy of the complaint via registered mail to Honda's headquarters in Japan, pursuant to the Pennsylvania long-arm statute, 42 Pa.C.S.A. § 5321 et seq. The complaint was in English. Honda filed preliminary objections, claiming that the method of service violated The Convention on the Service Abroad of Judicial and Extra Judicial Documents in Civil or Commercial Matters or as it is commonly known, the Hague Convention. The trial court denied Honda's objections but ruled that the matter presented a substantial issue as to jurisdiction. Honda then filed an interlocutory appeal as of right. See Pa.R.A.P. 311(b)(2).

Appellant presents two issues for our review: (1) whether the service of a complaint via certified mail on a Japanese corporation in Japan violates the Hague Convention; (2) whether the appellee's failure to translate the complaint into Japanese prior to service violates the Hague Convention.

[ 364 Pa. Super. Page 139]

Both parties agree that Sandoval complied with the applicable provisions of the Uniform Interstate and International Procedure Act as codified at 42 Pa. C.S.A. § 5323. The Act provides in pertinent part for service of process upon persons outside the Commonwealth: ". . . by any form of mail addressed to the person to be served and requiring a signed receipt".

Sandoval and Honda also agree that as a treaty ratified by the United States, the Hague Convention takes precedence over any conflicting state statute. United States Constitution, Art. VI cl. 2; United States v. Pink, 315 U.S. 203, 62 S.Ct. 552, 86 L.Ed. 796 (1942).

The parties disagree over whether the Hague Convention conflicts with § 5323. Honda claims that there is a conflict and Sandoval asserts that the two are harmonious. We agree with appellee, Sandoval.

The Hague Convention has been ratified by over twenty countries, including the United States and Japan. It provides for several alternative means of service of process. The section of ...


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