Non-U.S. Judgment Enforced in U.S.

Non-U.S. Judgment Enforced in U.S.

Challenges Even Based on Fraud Need To Be Asserted in the Country Issuing the Original Judgment; U.S. Court Declines "Interjudicial Conference" of Having the Judges From the Two Countries Talk

By Louis M. Solomon

Tettamanti, et al. v. Opcion Sociedad Anonima, No. 3D11-333 (3d Dist. Ct App. Fla. July 2011), is a state-court appellate ruling that bears on several international litigation topics of timely interest relating to the enforcement in the U.S. of a money judgment issued in a non-U.S. country.  Florida, like most other states, enacted what this Court described as the "Uniform Out-of-Country Foreign Money-Judgment Recognition Act".    Interpreting the Act, the appellate court ruled:

First, that "a post-recognition collateral attack on the judgment ordinarily should be directed to the foreign court rather than the Florida court".  Said this Court:

We appreciate the care a court in one country may take to avoid any inference of interference with the jurisdiction and discretion of a court in another country, but the same considerations of international comity do not in any way limit a presiding court's power to control a litigant seeking relief before it.

Second, the court addresses a suggestion by one of the litigants for the court to have an "interjudicial conference" by bringing the presiding judge in the case in Argentina to Miami for a hearing.  The trial court did not agree to do so, but the appellate court said:

The concept of direct, verbal cross-border judicial dialogue is intriguing, but the practical barriers posed by simultaneous translation, differing legal systems, participation by lawyers for each party and each country, and the uncertain appellate remedies, are daunting.

Third, the appellate court affirmed the trial court's rejection of the challenging litigant's argument that the Florida court had authority to vacate the recognition based on fraud and misconduct by the creditor in the non-U.S. proceeding.

Fourth, the appellate court affirmed the practical necessity of converting the non-U.S. currency into U.S. dollar equivalent, though it stated, "[a]gain, the court which entered the underlying judgment retains ultimate control to limit the total sum collected by the judgment creditor", to protect against overpayment by reason of exchange rate fluctuations, etc.

Visit OneWorld International Practice Law Blog  for more analysis of international and foreign law issues.

For more information about LexisNexis products and solutions connect with us through our corporate site.