We represent non-US companies large and small in enforcing foreign judgments in the US. Among our clients are (i) large international banks with hundreds of millions of dollars in judgements against US-based debtors, (ii) ordinary non-US businesses with judgments of at least one hundred thousand dollars.
Debt collection in the USA is conducted in one of two ways: (a) when there is a final judgment against the debtor, or (ii) when there is no judgment.
Here we will deal with the situation where there is a foreign judgement.
Who we are
We are a US law firm located outside the US. We specialize in one thing: representing non-US based clients in US-based legal matters. We have thirty years of experience in enforcing foreign judgments in the United States. We have operated in dozens of states in the USA, not only in the big states such as New York, California, Miami, Texas, Illinois and Massachusetts. We acted against dodgy diamond dealers in Brooklyn, and against high tech companies in California. We’ve seen it all.
The cases we handled include:
Main legal issues regarding the enforcement of the US judgment
Where do you initiate the enforcement of a foreign judgment in the US?
Enforcement of a judgment is carried out in the state court where the debtor is located or where the debtor has assets. Such action can be initiated in all states in the USA.
What are the basic conditions for enforcing a judgment in the US?
The judgment can be one of two types: (i) a judgement given after a trial where the debtor defended itself, or (ii) a judgement given by default, where the debtor did not represent itself I the foreign proceeding
The procedure for enforcing a foreign judgment in the USA
The documents submitted to the court must include:
How can a debtor avoid enforcement of the judgment in the US?
A judge will always closely examine whether the initial lawsuit was properly served. Most countries are signatory to the Hague Service Convention. The court in the USA will examine whether service was valid under the Convention.
It is impossible to underestimate the importance of servicing the initial lawsuit!!! A US judge will not enforce a foreign judgment based on improper service. This is even the case where the creditor is a reputable bank, and that there is no dispute that the debtor did owe the money!
The US courts will enforce a foreign judgment unless the foreign court lacked legal authority to hear the case. For example, if the contract between the parties required disputes to be arbitrated, or submitted to a court in a different country, the US court may refuse to enforce the judgment in the US.
Will you see any money from this?
A judgment in the US is worthless if there are no assets from which to satisfy the judgement. We have a network of private investigators throughout the US to check whether the debtor has assets.
We have decades of experience enforcing foreign judgments in the US. We’ve seen it all. Before a foreign creditor (and our firm) wastes time, we carefully examine the key facts that could render the entire enforcement process useless.
Bottom line – if you have a foreign judgment against a person or company in the USA, contact us for a free consultation.