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Meemic Ins. Co. v. Vertical Partners W., LLC

United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, Southern Division

October 6, 2019, Decided; October 6, 2019, Filed

Case No. 18-cv-11603



This is a products liability, consumer protection, and breach of warranty action arising out of a house fire in Brighton, Michigan. (ECF No. 1, PageID.12-14.) Plaintiff Meemic Insurance Company ("Meemic") initially filed this action on April 27, 2018, in the 44th Circuit Court of Michigan. (Id. at PageID.10.) Defendant Vertical Partners West LLC later removed the case to this Court on May 22, 2018. (Id. at PageID.1.) After Meemic added Yuntong Power Co. ("Yuntong") as a defendant on September 11, 2018 and attempted unsuccessfully to [*2]  obtain confirmation of service for the subsequent twelve months, it now moves for default judgment against Yuntong. (See ECF No. 41.) For the reasons stated below, this motion is GRANTED.

I. Background

Plaintiff Meemic is a Michigan property and casualty insurer. (Id. at PageID.10.) Meemic alleges that, on July 15, 2016, a fire significantly damaged a home in Brighton, Michigan. (Id. at PageID.11.) Having insured this home and having paid the claim related to the loss, Meemic became subrogated to the homeowners' rights. (Id. at PageID.11.) Meemic alleges that a subsequent investigation of the home determined that an RC battery started the fire. (Id.) A further investigation revealed that the battery was sold by Defendant Vertical Partners and manufactured by Defendant Yuntong. (ECF No. 9, PageID.58-59.) Yuntong is a Chinese corporation with corporate headquarters located in Guangdong, China. (Id. at PageID.57.) Meemic amended its complaint to include Yuntong on September 10, 2018, (Id. at PageID.1), and a summons for Yuntong was issued the following day. (ECF No. 10.)

On May 10, 2019, Meemic informed the Court that it attempted to serve Yuntong by mailing through UPS duplicate copies [*3]  of English and Chinese translations of the summons, complaint, and service request to the Chinese Ministry of Justice ("Chinese Ministry"). (ECF No. 36, PageID.175.) Meemic represented that UPS delivered the summons to the Chinese Ministry on September 26, 2018. (Id.) Receiving nothing in response, Meemic subsequently mailed and emailed the Chinese Ministry in February and March of 2019 to request updates. (Id.)

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2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 173145 *; 2019 WL 4928806

Meemic Insurance Company, Plaintiff, v. Vertical Partners West, LLC, et al, Defendants.


damages, default, default judgment, summons