Case of the Day: Walia v. Aegis Center Point Developers
Posted on February 14, 2014
The case of the day is Walia v. Aegis Center Point Developers Pvt. Ltd. (N.D. Cal. 2014). According to the complaint, Aegis was in charge of a real estate project in India. It recruited Gurinder Walia to serve as a director, manage investors, and raise capital. Walia and Siddhartha Kumar were the managers of Aegis, and they agreed to share the profits equally. Walia’s claim was that Aegis and Kumar improperly appointed a new director and deprived him of profits.
Walia sued Kumar and Aegis in a court in Chandigarh, India, seeking a permanent injunction. But the Indian court dismissed his claim on the merits. Walia then sued in the Northern District of California. Aegis and Kumar moved to dismiss.
The question was whether, under California law, the Indian judgment had preclusive effect. There was also a question about the authenticity of the Indian judgment.
The judge found that the judgment was authentic. Under FRCP 44(a)(2)(A)(ii), it was sufficient for
Walia to provide a copy of the judgment “that is attested by an authorized person and is accompanied either by a final certification of genuineness or by a certification under a treaty or convention to which the United States and the country where the record is located are parties.” Walia provided a copy of the judgment attested by the proper Indian officials and accompanied by an apostille.
The judge found that the issues in the two actions were identical, even though the causes of action were not identical. The issues were actually litigated (the Indian court’s dismissal of the claim for Walia’s failure to provide evidence to support the claim counts as actual litigation), the issues were necessary to the Indian court’s decision, and the Indian decision was final and on the merits. The Indian court’s procedure for dismissal for failure to produce evidence seems fairly like our summary judgment procedure, and of course a summary judgment can have preclusive effect, so this seems correct.
In short, the Indian judgment was entitled to recognition, and the judge granted the motion to dismiss.