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Foreign-based rights should be enforced unless the judicial enforcement of such a contract would be the approval of a transaction that is inherently vicious, wicked or immoral, and shocking to the prevailing moral sense.
Plaintiff, the owner and operator of a government-licensed gambling casino in Puerto Rico, sought to recover the sum of $12,000 evidenced by defendant's check and I. O. U.s given in payment of gambling debts incurred in Puerto Rico. The Appellate Division of the Supreme Court in the First Judicial Department (New York) dismissed plaintiff’s complaint. Plaintiff appealed.
May the courts deny access to a party seeking to enforce obligations validly entered into in the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and enforceable under Puerto Rican law?
The court of appeals concluded that the courts of New York should not deny access to the owner who sought to enforce obligations validly entered into in the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and enforceable under Puerto Rican law because the enforcement of the cause of action was not contrary to the public policy. According to the court, if gambling debts were validly contracted in Puerto Rico and the Puerto Rican law provided a remedy for their enforcement, absent a clear showing that the enforcement of the causes of action offended a court's sense of justice or menace the public welfare, the court may not withhold aid.