Case of the Day: Satori LLC v. Prodema LLS
Posted on October 4, 2011
The case of the day is Satori LLC v. Prodema LLS (N.D.N.Y. 2011). Satori is a Russian construction contractor. It had a contract with Prodema, a Wyoming company whose manager was Caversham LLC, a New York company. The Satori/Prodema contract had a forum selection clause that chose the Artibrazh Court of the City of Moscow as the forum. A dispute arose, and Satori sued Prodema in Russia. The Russian court entered a default judgment, and Prodema did not appeal. Satori then sought recognition and enforcement of the judgment in New York. In the same proceeding, it also sought to enforce the judgment against Caversham.
Caversham moved to dismiss, and the court granted its motion. Under Article 53 of New York’s Civil Practice Law and Rules, Satori was required to show that the judgment was conclusive “between the parties” and that the Russian court had personal jurisdiction over Caversham. In essence, the judge held that the CPLR did not permit enforcement of a foreign judgment against a non-party to the foreign proceedings.This seems correct. If Satori wants to pierce the veil, it seems to me the right way to proceed is to obtain recognition of the judgment against Prodema and then to bring an action against Caversham in New York on the US judgment, asserting whatever veil piercing or alter ego theories Satori wants to raise.
Venue was proper in New York only because Prodema had named Caversham as a party. The judge requested further briefing on whether venue was still proper, and it reserved decision on Prodema’s motion to dismiss pending a resolution of its doubts about venue.