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Enforcement of Foreign Judgments in New York

New York Litigation Law Firm

New York has "traditionally been a generous forum in which to enforce judgments for money damages rendered in foreign courts." Historically, New York courts have recognized judgments rendered in foreign countries under the doctrine of comity. "Absent some showing of fraud in the procurement of the foreign country judgment or that recognition of the judgment would do violence to some strong public policy of this State."

In accordance with comity, New York enacted CPLR Article 53, The Uniform Foreign Country Money-Judgments Recognition Act to "promote the efficient enforcement of New York judgments abroad by assuring foreign jurisdictions that their judgments would receive streamlined enforcement here." The Act mandates that a foreign judgment is enforceable in New York by an action on the judgment or motion for summary judgment in lieu of Complaint, if the judgment was "final, conclusive and enforceable where rendered" and awarded monetary damages.

If a foreign judgment is final, awards money damages, and is enforceable in its home country, then it has met the initial criteria for being enforced in New York.

However, the New York Courts have the discretion to refuse to enforce a foreign judgment for the following reasons:

  1. the judgment was rendered under a system which 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 defendant. (b) Other grounds for non-recognition. A foreign country judgment need not be recognized if: 1. the foreign court did not have jurisdiction over the subject matter; 2. the defendant in the proceedings in the foreign court did not receive notice of the proceedings in sufficient time to enable him to defend;
  3. the judgment was obtained by fraud;
  4. the cause of action on which the judgment is based is repugnant to the public policy of this state;
  5. the judgment conflicts with another final and conclusive judgment;
  6. the proceeding in the foreign court was contrary to an agreement between the parties under which the dispute in question was to be settled otherwise than by proceedings in that court;
  7. in the case of jurisdiction based only on personal service, the foreign court was a seriously inconvenient forum for the trial of the action; or
  8. the cause of action resulted in a defamation judgment obtained in a jurisdiction outside the United States, unless the court before which the matter is brought sitting in this state first determines that the defamation law applied in the foreign court's adjudication provided at least as much protection for freedom of speech and press in that case as would be provided by both the United States and New York constitutions.

Typically, if none of the above factors apply, and the "foreign judgment is not otherwise repugnant to our notion of fairness" then the foreign judgment "should be enforced "without a microscopic analysis of the underlying proceeding."

If you have a foreign judgment against a New York resident or company and would like to explore your options for enforcing the foreign judgment, please contact us by phone or by filing a case evaluation for to set up a free initial consultation.

(212) 566-3572