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Current Developments in the Commercial Divisions of the
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Posted: February 6, 2018

Court Enters Judgment Enforcing Foreign Judgment

On January 30, 2018, Justice Sherwood of the New York County Commercial Division issued a decision in VTB Bank (PJSC) v. Mavlyanov, 2018 NY Slip Op. 30166(U), entering an order enforcing a foreign judgment, explaining:

Article 53 of the CPLR (Recognition Act) provides that a foreign country judgment may be enforced by a motion for summary judgment in lieu of complaint. New York has traditionally been a generous forum in which to enforce judgments for money damages rendered by foreign courts. Historically, New York courts have accorded recognition to the judgments rendered in a foreign country under the doctrine of international 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. A judgment creditor proceeding under the Recognition Act does not seek any new relief against the judgment debtor, but instead merely asks the court to perform its ministerial function of recognizing the foreign country money judgment and converting it into a New York judgment.

Article 53 of the CPLR also provides that a foreign country judgment will be recognized in New York, unless a ground for nonrecognition under CPLR 5304 is applicable. Pursuant to that statute, a foreign country judgment is not conclusive if it was rendered under a system that does not provide for impartial tribunals or due process procedures, or if the foreign court did not have personal jurisdiction over the defendants. The parties dispute whether the Russian judgments meet the statutory requirements.

CPLR 5302 provides that it applies to any foreign country judgment which is final, conclusive and enforceable where rendered even though an appeal therefrom is pending or it is subject to appeal. In considering whether the foreign country judgment is final, conclusive and enforceable, courts may properly take judicial notice of the law of the foreign country where the judgment was rendered.

The Russian judgments are money judgments that are final, conclusive and enforceable under Russian law. Pursuant to the Russian Code of Civil Procedure (Russian Code), a Russian court judgment becomes enforceable upon expiration of the time within which an appeal may be filed, if no appeal was filed. If an appeal is filed, and the judgment is upheld, the judgment becomes final and enforceable immediately upon issuance of the ruling.

Here, there is no dispute that Mavlyanov’s appeals to the Moscow City Court were resolved in favor of the Bank on November 30, 2016, and that Mavlyanov’s appeals to the cassation court were resolved in favor of the Bank on March 9, 2016 and April 17, 2016. There is no dispute that any further appeal is pending, or that a stay of the execution of the Russian judgments was demanded or issued. Mavlyanov himself concedes that the Russian judgments may be technically deemed final.

For those reasons, the Russian judgments are now final, conclusive, and enforceable, pursuant to Russian law.

(Internal quotations and citation omitted).

We have substantial experience in helping judgment creditors collect on judgments and search for and attach assets worldwide. One part of that effort is using procedures such as the one discussed above to make foreign judgements and arbitral awards enforceable against assets in New York. Contact Schlam Stone & Dolan partner John Lundin at jlundin@schlamstone.com if you or a client need help collecting on a judgment.

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