Court Says Case Against Megaupload Can Continue, Despite Not Being Able To Serve The Company
from the moving-on dept
Unfortunately -- but perhaps not too surprisingly -- the court has sided with the DOJ, saying that the case against Megaupload, the company, can move forward, even though the company was not served in the US.
Judge O'Grady echoes the government's belief that the rules weren't intended to be interpreted for the evasion of foreign defendants. He writes, "It is doubtful that Congress would stamp with approval a procedural rule permitting a corporate defendant to intentionally violate the laws of this country, yet evade the jurisdiction of United States' courts by purposefully failing to establish an address here."I can see the judge's reasoning here, but it seems like a pretty slippery slope argument, basically allowing some pretty broad powers to the US to go after countries all around the world. Imagine how the US government would act if other governments around the globe claimed the same thing? It seems that if Congress really intended the DOJ to be able to go after foreign companies, then it should have made that clear in the law.
The judge goes onto to make his own interpretation of Rule 4, saying that mailing a summons to the address of corporation's alter ego is the same as mailing the summons to the corporation itself. Often, that means mailing it to the domestic subsidiary of the foreign company; here, it could mean Kim Dotcom if he's ordered to be extradited at a later point.
"So long as the government could prove that an individual defendant is an alter ego of the corporate defendant, the government could satisfy Rule 4's mailing requirement by mailing a copy of the summons to one of the individual defendants once that defendant is extradited to this district," writes the judge.
It sounds as though Megaupload is planning to appeal this ruling, to get a higher court to look into this issue.
In the end, though, this still remains a tangential issue, and one that doesn't impact the case against the individuals. But, for now, the government's argument has won the first round.