Enforcing Chinese Judgments in U.S. Courts Now a Reality

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A federal court in Los Angeles has recognized a Chinese court judgment of USD 6,500,000 against a California defendant.

The case was decided under the Uniform Foreign Money Judgments Recognition Act (UFMJRA), as adopted by California.  The UFMJRA has been adopted by approximately 30 states, including New York, Texas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Ohio.  Judgments from different civil and common law countries have been recognized and enforced in U.S. courts, but the recent decision to enforce a Chinese court judgment is noteworthy.  Similar cases have been met with courts finding reasons to not enforce Chinese court judgments.  In fact, this year the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit rejected this firm’s efforts to enforce a Chinese court judgment under the UFMJRA as adopted by Texas.  The court found that the U.S. Consulate’s certified translation of the judgment did not meet the law’s requirement for filing an authenticated copy of the foreign court judgment.

Generally, enforcement of Chinese court judgments in U.S. courts have been rejected on grounds that there is no treaty between the countries to recognize judgments of the other nation’s courts.  Some states require reciprocity before recognizing a foreign country judgment, while others require burdensome procedural requirements.  Therefore, each case will be unique wherever the originating court entering the judgment may be located.

U.S. companies should recognize that in light of this recent decision, they should adopt strategies to defend Chinese lawsuits in the first instance and not assume that a Chinese court judgment will not be enforceable in the U.S.

For assistance in enforcing and defending foreign country judgments and arbitration awards in the United States, please contact Jon P. Yormick, Managing Attorney, at [email protected] or +1.216.928.3474.


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