Case News

Judgment Enforcement Case Summaries

[11/21] Laboratory Specialists International, Inc. v. Shimadzu Scientific Instruments, Inc.
Affirming the district court's dismissal of a lawsuit pursuant to the forum selection clause in the parties' contract because there was no procedural error and the court did not err in dismissing the plaintiff's tort claims or by refusing to conduct an analysis under discretionary forum non conveniens factors.

[10/25] Midbrook Flowerbulbs Holland B.V. v. Holland America Bulb Farms
Affirming the district court's order grant of summary judgment in favor of the plaintiff and denying the defense's discovery request in a diversity action seeking recognition of a Dutch court judgment under Washington's Uniform Foreign-Country Money Judgments Recognition Act (UFCMJRA) because, although the foreign proceedings were quite different procedurally than they might have been stateside, the legal standard governing the UFCMJRA only requires that the foreign proceedings did not deny the party fundamental fairness.

[10/17] Penn. Pub. Util. Commission v. Jenkins
In a judgment enforcement action, the district court's order approving a sale recommended by the receiver as part of wrapping of a fifteen year case stemming from a $58 million judgment is affirmed where the sale appeal is not equitably moot and the district court's orders approving the sale details was not an abuse of discretion.

[07/20] Thai-Lao Lignite Co. v. Government of the Lao People's Democratic Republic
Affirming the district court's decision to vacate an earlier judgment enforcing an arbitral award because the court in the Malaysian arbitral seat had set the award aside because a consideration of the factors under the Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 60(b)(5) would not have materially changed the outcome and there was no abuse of discretion denying the petitioner's request that Laos be forced to post security during the pendency of the motion and appeals.

[06/07] Casiopea Bovet, LLC v. Chiang
In an action challenging the California State Controller denying its claim seeking unclaimed property held as escheated funds, the trial court's judgment on the pleadings granted in favor of the Controller is affirmed where plaintiff could not claim escheated property under the Unclaimed Property Law, Code of Civ. Proc. section 1500 et seq., as an assignee of a title company because it was a suspended corporation, Rev. & Tax. Code section 23301, which lacked legal capacity to prosecute an action.

[05/25] People ex rel. Harris v. Aguayo
In a civil enforcement action brought by the State of California against appellants for violation of the unfair competition laws (UCL), Bus. & Prof. Code section 17200 et seq., arising out of a complex real estate scam through which appellants acquired and rented real estate belonging to others, the trial court's judgment and award of damages in favor of the People is affirmed over defendants' six arguments on appeal.

[05/03] Yolanda's, Inc. v. Kahl & Goveia Commercial Real Estate
In an appeal from a post-judgment discovery order arising from a third party judgment debtor examination in an underlying action involving a breach of lease, the petition for writ of mandate is denied where the scope of questions asked by a judgment creditor in a third party judgment debtor examination may include the location of assets no longer in the possession of the third party, Code Civ. Proc. sections 708.120, 708.130, 187.

[02/02] Iraq Middle Market Dev. v. Harmoosh
In a case in which a creditor secured a judgment securing in Iraq for non-payment of a promissory note and sought to have a recognized in federal district court, the district court's judgment that the judgment was not entitled to recognition given that the parties had agreed to arbitrate their disputes, is vacated where genuine issues of material fact remain as to whether the debtor lost his right to arbitrate by utilizing the Iraqi judicial process.

[12/02] Law Offices of David Efron, PC v. Candelario
In an appeal from an order of the District Court for the District of Puerto Rico directing that 'the moneys for legal fees to Mr. Efron, which we ordered retained by our Clerk, be disbursed to the Court of First Instance, Superior Part of San Juan,' is reversed and the funds ordered to be paid pursuant to the provisions originally governing the funds' disposition, where: 1) Puerto Rico courts cannot garnish funds deposited in a federal district court's registry; 2) the district court cannot transfer registry funds without transferring the concomitant case; and 3) the appellee has no right to intervene in the federal action.

[11/29] Sutter Health v. Eden Township Healthcare Dist.
In a motion under Government Code section 970.6, which permits a local public entity to pay a judgment in up to 10 annual installments upon a showing that prompt payment would impose an 'unreasonable hardship,' the trial court's grant of the motion is: 1) affirmed as to the trial court's grant of installment payment relief under section 970.6 where the District's financial straits readily support a finding of 'unreasonable hardship'; but 2) reversed as to the retroactive portion of the trial court's order where, although the postjudgment interest rate established by section 984 is appropriate prospectively, there is no statutory basis for reducing the interest accrued prior to the trial court's grant of relief under section 970.6.

[10/25] Wolf Metals Inc. v. Rand Pacific Sales Inc.
In a judgment enforcement action, arising out of a default judgment for plaintiff in a contracts dispute over defendant's failure to pay for sheet metal, the trial court's entry of amended default judgment is reversed in part and affirmed in part where: 1) Donald Koh was improperly added as a judgment debtor on an alter ego theory under Motores de Mexicali v. Superior Court, 51 Cal.2d 172 (1958); but 2) South Gate Steel was properly added as a judgment debtor on a corporate successor theory.

[10/24] Mealing v. Diane Harkey for Bd. of Equalization
In a judgment enforcement action, seeking an ex parte order prohibiting defendant entity from making loan repayments to Diane Harkey, on the basis that such funds are community property that can satisfy plaintiff's judgment against her husband Dan Harkey, the trial courts denial of the application is affirmed where: 1) California Code of Civil Procedure section 708.240, subdivision (a) only permits a judgment creditor to seek an order restraining a third party from making payments to the judgment debtor, not another party; and 2) plaintiff abandoned his request for an order under section 708.240, subdivision (b) which authorizes a restraining order preventing a third party indebted to a judgment debtor from making a transfer to any person.

[09/26] De Fontbrune v. Wofsy
In an action seeking to protect plaintiff's copyright in photographs of Pablo Picasso's artworks, and to enforce a French judgment of two million euros in astreinte in federal court against defendant-American art editor under the California Uniform Foreign-Court Monetary Judgment Recognition Act, the District Court's Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6) dismissal is reversed where: 1) Fed. R. Civ. P. 44.1 authorizes district courts to consider foreign legal materials -- including expert testimony and declarations -- outside the pleadings in rulings on a motion to dismiss because Rule 44.1 treats foreign law determinations as questions of law, not fact; and 2) the district court erred in concluding that the award of an astreinte in this case constituted a 'fine or other penalty' for the purposes of California's Uniform Recognition Act.

[07/20] Kirschenbaum v. 650 Fifth Avenue and Related Properties
In an action brought by direct or indirect victims of terrorist acts linked to the Islamic Republic of Iran, against which they hold unsatisfied money judgments, contending that they are entitled to enforce these judgments against Defendants, pursuant to the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA) and the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act (TRIA), the District Court's grant of summary judgment to plaintiffs is vacated and remanded where: 1) defendants in this case do not equate to the 'foreign state' of Iran for purposes of the FSIA or the TRIA; 2) defendants cannot be deemed 'agencies or instrumentalities' of Iran under the FSIA, but defendants' status as 'agencies or instrumentalities' of Iran under the TRIA and their properties' status as 'blocked assets' under that statute is not foreclosed as a matter of law.

[07/05] Torjesen v. Mansdorf
In a judgment enforcement action, arising after a judgment creditor failed to levy on the debtor's property until after the debtor's death then obtained relief on a petition filed under the Enforcement of Judgments Law, Code of Civil Procedure sections 680.010 et seq., against a third party claimant, the court held that: 1) the underlying order invalidating the third party claim was voidable, but not void, and became final once the time to appeal the order ran; and 2) the trial court property denied the third party claimant's belated motion to vacate the order.

[05/12] Villoldo v. Castro Ruz
In cross-appeals that arise from the ongoing efforts by two brothers to satisfy a multi-billion dollar judgment they won against the Republic of Cuba and other Cuban parties, the District Court's ruling, that certain assets they seek to attach to satisfy that judgment are not the property of the Cuban government and thus are not subject to attachment in satisfaction of their judgment, is affirmed where: 1) the District Court had the authority to revisit its initial determination that Cuba owned the assets subject to the February 12 turnover order because it was not a final judgment; 2) dismissal was proper because U.S. courts will not give extraterritorial effect to a foreign state's confiscatory law. Denial of defendant's motion for attorney is affirmed.

[04/12] Karpinski v. Smitty's Bar
In a suit against a bar alleging it negligently allowed two intoxicated men to enter and remain in the bar, who then assaulted plaintiff, the trial court's ruling is affirmed where it properly granted a motion to enforce a settlement between the parties, pursuant to Code of Civil Procedure section 664.6, because satisfaction of two outstanding statutory medical liens, involving the California Victims of Crime program and Medicare, is a condition precedent to payment of the settlement proceed.

[04/11] Mitchell v. Garrison Protective Services, Inc.
In a judgment enforcement action, arising out of an underlying sex-discrimination lawsuit in which default judgment was entered against defendant Lyons Professional Services, the district court's grant of plaintiff's motion to enforce the judgment against interested-party appellant Garrison Protective Services is affirmed where the district court's factual findings at the bench trial were not clearly erroneous.

[02/26] Ministry of Defense v. Frym
In an international action involving ten American citizens attempting to collect on valid judgments held against Iran for injuries arising out of state-sponsored terrorism, the district court's grant of lien claimants' motion to attach is affirmed where: 1) the Algiers Accord between the U.S. and Iran does not prevent attachment of the underlying $9.4 million arbitration award at issue here; and 2) the award is a blocked asset under Executive Order 133359 and subject to attachment under the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act.

[12/18] SEC v. Miller
In a securities action seeking to enforce a $300 million disgorgement order, the district court's freezing of defendants' assets despite their filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection is affirmed where the court's asset freeze order fell within the "governmental unit" exception to the automatic stay provision of the Bankruptcy Code, 11 U.S.C. section 362.

[10/14] Cadle Co. v. Fletcher
In a judgment enforcement action alleging that defendants, a married couple, transferred more than $300,000 of husband's wages to wife's bank account to avoid a garnishment on husband's wages related to two Connecticut state court judgments, the court certified to the Connecticut Supreme Court the question of whether Conn. Gen. Stat. sections 52-361a and 52-367b exempt post-garnishment residual wages in a third party's account from further execution so that they become freely transferable under the Conneticut Uniform Fraudulent Transfer Act.

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