May 3, 2016

ENFORCING A FOREIGN-COUNTRY JUDGMENT (Russian Judgment)

Unpaid consumer debt soared by 48 percent in 2015 and hit 1.15 trillion rubles ($15 billion), according to the Moscow-based United Credit Bureau, which tracks borrowing and compiles credit histories.

LAWSTACHE LAW FIRM trial attorneys represent financial institutions seeking to enforce a foreign judgement in United States. If your company has a valid and enforceable monetary judgment from the Russian Justice Courts or other foreign courts, you may enforce that judgment in the United States. To obtain such recognition, the creditor must file a lawsuit under California’s Uniform Foreign Country Money Judgments Recognition Act. Code Civ. Proc. §§ 1713-1724. Having a valid US judgment means your company will be able to collect on unpaid debts. Additionally, your organization may be able to seize the debtor’s property located in United States.

Having extensive experience litigating large monetary disputes. LAWSTACHE LAW FIRM also represents individuals who are getting pursued by large banks for unpaid debts. The law in the area of enforcing foreign money judgments is very complex, in many situations the banks or other creditors are not careful in following the black letter of the law. Additionally, the Russian courts are not competent enough to render a valid judgment. Regardless of your situation, we can help you.

Due to the fact that a large Russian population is concentrated in California, the following information will focus on enforcing a a judgment in California state court system. (Depending on your case, we may enforce your judgment in the United States Federal Court under a similar structure.)

WHEN CAN YOU ENFORCE A FOREIGN-COUNTRY JUDGMENT?

Before a foreign judgment may be enforced, it must be recognized by the California Courts. A foreign-country judgment, means “a judgment of a court of a foreign country” Cal. Code of Civ. Proc. § 1714(b). Generally speaking, California will recognize a foreign-country judgment to the extent that the judgment grants or denies recovery of a sum of money; and under the law of the foreign country where rendered, is final, conclusive, and enforceable. Cal. Code of Civ. Proc. §1715(a). 

California, however, will not recognize a foreign-country judgment even if the judgment grants or denies recovery of a sum of money, to the extent the judgment is for taxes, a fine, or a penalty. Cal. Code of Civ. Proc. §1715(b).

PROCEDURE:

In order to initiate the process, the party must file an original matter or may raise it by counterclaim, cross-claim, or affirmative defense. Cal. Code of Civ. Proc. § 1718. The party seeking recognition of a foreign-country judgment has the burden of establishing that the foreign-country judgment is entitled to recognition. Cal. Code of Civ. Proc. § 1715(c).

To the extent the foreign-country judgment grants or denies recovery of a sum of money and, under the law of the foreign country where rendered, is final, conclusive, and enforceable, and is not for taxes, a fine, or penalty, California shall recognized such a judgment unless:

  1. The judgment was rendered under a judicial system that does not provide impartial tribunals or procedures compatible with the requirements of due process of law.
  2. The foreign court did not have personal jurisdiction over the subject matter.
  3. The foreign court did not have jurisdiction over the subject matter.
    Cal. Code of Civ. Proc. § 1716(b).

Additionally, a court in California is not required to recognize a foreign-country judgment if any of the following apply:

  1. The defendant in the proceeding in the foreign court did not receive notice of the proceeding in sufficient time to enable the defendant to defend.
  2. The judgment was obtained by fraud that deprived the losing party of an adequate opportunity to present its case.
  3. The judgment of the cause of action or claim for relief upon which the judgment is based is repugnant to the public policy of the State of California or the United States.
  4. The judgment conflicts with another final and conclusive judgment.
  5. The proceeding in the foreign court was contrary to an agreement between the parties under which the dispute in question was to be determined otherwise than by proceedings in that foreign court.
  6. In the case of jurisdiction based only on personal service, the foreign court was a seriously inconvenient forum for the trial of the action.
  7. The judgment was rendered in circumstances that raise substantial doubt about the integrity of the rendering court with respect to the judgment.
  8. The specific proceeding in the foreign court leading to the judgment was not compatible with the requirements of due process of law.
  9. The judgment includes recovery for a claim of defamation unless the court determines that the defamation law applied by the foreign court provided at least as much protection for freedom of speech and the press as provided by both the United States and California Constitutions. Cal. Code of Civ. Proc. § 1716(c).

The initial burden is on the party seeking recognition to establish that the foreign judgment meets the requirements of Cal. Code of Civ. Proc. §1715, the party resisting recognition has the burden of establishing a ground for non-recognition exists. Cal. Code of Civ. Proc. §1716(d).

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN THE JUDGMENT IS RECOGNIZED?

Once a California court finds that the foreign-country judgment is entitled to recognition, the foreign-country judgment is both:

  1. Conclusive between the parties to the same extent as the judgment of a sister state entitled to full faith and credit in this state would be conclusive.
  2. Enforceable in the same manner and to the same extent as a judgment rendered in California.
    Cal. Code of Civ. Proc. §1719.

CURRENCY?

To the extent that the foreign-country judgment is rendered in a currency other than the currency of the United States, the Uniform Foreign-Money Claims Act (“UFMCA”) provides that except in the case of assessed costs, “a judgment or award on a foreign-money claim shall be stated in an amount of the money of the claim.” Cal. Code of Civ. Proc. § 676.7(a).

Such a judgment is payable in that foreign money or, at the option of the judgment debtor, “in the amount of United States dollars which will purchase that foreign money on the conversion date at a bank-offered spot rate.” Cal. Code of Civ. Proc. §676.7(b).

Costs assessed by the California court shall be entered in United States dollars. Cal. Code of Civ. Proc. §676.7(c).

HOW CAN WE HELP?

LAWSTACHE LAW FIRM has extensive experience representing individuals and entities facing large monetary disputes. Once a foreign-country money judgment is recognized and judgment is entered, it may be enforced in the same way and in the same manner as a California State judgment. If your company has a valid and enforceable judgment from the Russian Justice Courts, you may enforce that judgment in the United States. Having a valid US judgment means your company will be able to collect on unpaid debts. Additionally, your organization may be able to seize debtor’s property located in United States.

LAWSTACHE LAW FIRM also represents individuals who are getting pursued by large banks for unpaid debts. The law in the area of enforcing foreign money judgments is very complex, in many situations the banks or other creditors need to be extremely careful to follow the law. Regardless of your situation, we can help you get in control of your situation.

LAWSTACHE LAW FIRM is a full service law firm focused on assisting private and governmental entities as well as individuals doing business between Russian Federation and the United States. Our trial lawyers are admitted to practice law in United States Federal Courts as wells as State Courts of California, Nevada, and Utah. Our litigation group offers our clients counseling, dispute resolution, and trial and appellate expertise that spans many borders. With naturally strong Russian-American ties, we are especially well suited to assist Russian clients interested in doing business or bringing suit in the United States.

Please call us at 619-357-6677 for assistance with your case. 

 In The News: Anton Vialtsin, Esq. is currently litigating an international business dispute involving claims exceeding $30 million.