Could a Judgement from another country be collected in the USA?
I am prohibited from giving a legal opinion. It may be possible for the company to sue you in the United Kingdom, including costs and interest. Before a party can enforce a judgment from a foreign country in the United States, the moving party must have the foreign judgment recognized by the state in which he is seeking to enforce the judgment. Once the court recognizes the foreign-country judgment, the moving party can simply file that judgment in order to enforce it. In some cases, the court will not give, what “full faith and credit” to a judgment of another jurisdiction obtained by default, since it was not decided on the merits.
In the absence of an applicable bi- or multilateral convention, recognition and enforcement is determined in accordance with the "recognizing" country's domestic law.
Common requirements for recognition and enforcement include:
a) proper notice
b) proper jurisdiction (personal and subject matter)
c) final and binding judgment
d) no violation of "recognizing" country's public policy
An example of a judgment which cannot be the subject of a recognition action:
Under Civil Procedure Rules in the United Kingdom, a claim form can be served on a defendant by ordinary mail. This means that the mere mailing of the claim form to a defendant at his last known address can form a sufficient basis for a default judgment with no knowledge by the plaintiff or the court as to whether the defendant did, in fact, receive the lawsuit. Such a judgment would not be eligible for recognition and enforcement in any jurisdiction in the United States.
In one Arizona case, the court refused to recognize a judgment of a foreign country, holding that the Uniform Enforcement of Foreign Judgments Act only applied to judgments of another state and not a foreign country. The case is below:
ULTIBANCO COMERMEX, S.A. v. GONZALEZ H., 129 Ariz. 321 (App. 1981)
630 P.2d 1053
MULTIBANCO COMERMEX, S.A., a Mexican Corporation, Plaintiff/Appellant, v.
Arnoldo GONZALEZ H., aka Arnoldo Gonzalez Hernandez and Maria Teresa
Gonzalez, husband and wife, Defendants/Appellees.
No. 2 CA-CIV 3851.
Court of Appeals of Arizona, Division Two.
May 7, 1981.
Rehearing Denied May 27, 1981.
Review Denied June 23, 1981.
Appeal from the Superior Court, Santa Cruz County, Cause No. 9798, Roberto C. Montiel, J.
Law Offices of Dennis T. Fenwick, P.C. by Dennis T. Fenwick, Nogales, for plaintiff/appellant.
Larson, Soto & Machado by Jose Luis Machado, Nogales, for defendants/appellees.
Is a judgment of a Mexican court a "foreign judgment" within the meaning of A.R.S. Sec. 12-1701 of the Uniform Enforcement of Foreign Judgments Act? We hold that it is not and affirm.
Appellant filed in the Superior Court of Santa Cruz County, eight Mexican judgments which it sought to enforce under the Uniform Enforcement of Foreign Judgments Act, A.R.S. Sec. 12-1701 et seq. Pursuant to appellees' motion, the trial court quashed the judgments.
A.R.S. Sec. 12-1701 states that "`foreign judgment' means any judgment . . . which is entitled to full faith and credit in this state." Appellant contends that a judgment from Mexico is a foreign judgment and is entitled to full faith and credit. We do not agree. The "full faith and credit" that is referred to in 12-1701 is the full faith and credit that is required by the Constitution of the United States, Art. IV, Sec. 1, which states: "Full Faith and Credit shall be given in each State to . . . judicial Proceedings of every other State. . . ." This means that full faith and credit must be given to the judicial proceedings of a sister state but not to judgments from foreign countries.
BIRDSALL, J., and ROBERT J. HOOKER, Superior Court Judge, concur.
NOTE: Chief Judge JAMES D. HATHAWAY having recused himself in this matter, Judge ROBERT J. HOOKER was called to sit in his stead and participate in the determination of this decision.
The following is an AZ statute:
A copy of any foreign judgment authenticated in accordance with the act of Congress or the statutes of this state may be filed in the office of the clerk of any superior court of this state. The clerk shall treat the foreign judgment in the same manner as a judgment of the superior court of this state. A judgment so filed has the same effect and is subject to the same procedures, defenses and proceedings for reopening, vacating, or staying as a judgment of a superior court of this state and may be enforced or satisfied in like manner.