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Bankruptcy Jurisdiction -- Personal Jurisdiction
1. Because of nationwide service of process authorized by Fed. R. Bankr.
P. 7004(d), the minimum contacts doctrine does not apply in bankruptcy
proceedings at least with respect to defendant residents of the United
States. B.W. Dev. Co. v. John B. Pike & Son, Inc., 49 B.R.
129, 131-32 (Bankr. W.D. Ky. 1985); accord Pongetti v. Laws
(In re Self), 51 B.R. 683, 685 (Bankr. N.D. Miss. 1985).
2. With respect to foreigners, Fed. R. Civ. P. 4(e) applies (it is
incorporated by reference in Fed. R. Bankr. P. 7004(a)), and "service
of process . . . requires an analysis of the defendant's minimum
contacts with the forum state pursuant to the state's long-arm statute
and whether the statute is in accordance with constitutional due
process requirements." R.M.R. Corp. v. Clare Bros., Ltd. (In re
R.M.R. Corp.), 133 B.R. 759, 764 (Bankr. D. Md. 1991). However, a
foreigner filing a proof of claim submits to the personal jurisdiction
of the bankruptcy court because a proof of claim is analogous to a
complaint whereby a plaintiff submits to the court's jurisdiction for
all counterclaims. Kline v. Ed. Zueblin (In re Am. Exp. Group
Int'l Servs.), 167 B.R. 311 (Bankr. D.D.C. 1994).
3. Service of process upon the United States is perfected by mailing a
copy of the summons and complaint to the United States Attorney for
the district in which the action is brought and also the Attorney
General of the United States. Fed. R. Bankr. P. 7004(b)(4). Service
upon an officer of the United States requires mailing a copy of the
summons and complaint to the United States as prescribed in Rule
7004(b)(4) and also to the officer. Fed. R. Bankr. P. 7004(b)(5).
These requirements are not discretionary but a requirement for
jurisdiction over the United States and an officer or agency of the
United States. See George v. United States Dep't of Labor,
Occupational Safety & Health Admin., 788 F.2d 1115, 1116 (5th Cir.
1986); Smith v. McNamara, 395 F.2d 896, 898 (10th Cir. 1968).
Bankruptcy courts must, therefore, dismiss adversary proceedings for
insufficiency of process and service of process, and for lack of
personal jurisdiction, when a debtor fails to meet the service
requirements. See United States v. Levoy (In re Levoy),
182 B.R. 827 (B.A.P. 9th Cir. 1995) (objections to claim require
service on the Attorney General, the local US Attorney, and the agency
in accordance with Fed. R. Bankr. P. 7004; however, where the IRS
files a proof of claim, it submits itself to the court's jurisdiction
for objections to the claim); United States v. Laughlin (In re
Laughlin), 210 B.R. 659 (B.A.P. 1st Cir. 1997) (ch. 7 trustee
failed to serve the U.S. -- the real party in interest in IRS cases
with motion to abate tax penalties); Whelan v. United States (In re
Whelan), 213 B.R. 310 (Bankr. W.D. La. 1997) (service of motion in
contested matter against United States on Attorney General is absolute
requirement; debtor's failure to do so deprives court of
jurisdiction); United States v. Hernandez (In re Hernandez),
173 B.R. 430 (N.D. Ala. 1994) (service of a motion commencing a
contested matter on the IRS but not on the local US Attorney or the
Attorney General does not satisfy service requirements and mandates
reversal of bankruptcy ruling on the contested matter); see
generally Messenger v. United States, 231 F.2d 328, 329 (2d
Cir. 1956); Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(2),(4),(5); Fed. R. Bankr. P.