A $40 million judgment arising from a suit against a Saudi Arabian company in an English court can be enforced in New York, a unanimous Appellate Division, First Department panel ruled Tuesday, affirming Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Shirley Werner Kornreich (See Profile).
The dispute revolves around a currency swap agreement between United Arab Emirates-based Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank and Saad Trading, a division of Saudi conglomerate Saad Group.
The bank sued Saad in a London court in 2009 for money it alleged it was owed under the agreement. Saad never appeared, and the court entered a default judgment.
In 2011, the bank filed an action in Manhattan to domesticate the judgment there. Saad moved to dismiss, arguing the court lacked personal jurisdiction.
However, Kornreich held that the court did not need personal jurisdiction over Saad to perform the “ministerial function” of simply recognizing a foreign judgment (NYLJ, May 29, 2012). She entered judgment against Saad in November 2012.
The First Department panel agreed with Kornreich’s reasoning. It also rejected Saad’s argument that the case should be dismissed for forum non conveniens, writing that doctrine did not apply because the merits of the case had already been decided elsewhere.
Saad is represented by Robert Serio of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher.
The bank is represented by Michael Devorkin, a partner at Golenbock Eiseman Assor Bell & Peskoe, and by Matthew Daly, an associate there.
The case is Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank v. Saad Trading, 652191/11.
@|Brendan Pierson can be contacted at email@example.com.