No less an authoritative source than New York’s highest court has said “New York has traditionally been a generous forum in which to enforce judgments for money damages rendered by foreign courts.” CIBC Mellon Trust Co. v Mora Hotel, 100 N.Y.2d 215, 221 (2003). Consistent therewith, in July 2011, we wrote a column titled “I Love New York for Seizing Assets.” Part of our article talked about how New York state courts were a friendly forum for enforcing foreign judgments because of a decision that held there is no need to establish personal jurisdiction or quasi in rem jurisdiction in order to enforce a foreign country money judgment. A recent First Department decision may have cast doubt on the continued viability of that concept.
The ‘Lenchyshyn’ Decision
Lenchyshyn v. Pelko Electric, 723 N.Y.S.2d 285 (4th Dept. 2001), was an action brought under New York’s version of the Uniform Foreign Country Money Judgments Recognition Act, codified in New York as CPLR Article 53. All of the parties were Canadian and the plaintiffs sought to enforce their multimillion dollar Canadian money judgment in New York. Defendants sought dismissal on the ground that they were not subject to the personal jurisdiction of the New York courts.
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