Case of the Day: Panchenkova v. Chigirinsky
Posted on March 31, 2014
The case of the day is Panchenkova v. Chigirinsky (Conn. Super. Ct. 2013), is an action for recognition and enforcement of a Russian divorce judgment.
Panchenkova and Chigirisky were previously married, but they had been divorced in Russia. Under the Russian divorce judgment, Chigirinsky was required to make payments to Panchenkova. Panchenkova alleged that Chigirinsky had failed to make payments and sought recognition and enforcement of the Russian judgment in Connecticut. Chigirinsky defended by asserting that the Russian judgment had been procured by fraud. The fraud in question? A supposed misrepresentation to the Russian court and a supposed fraudulent failure to disclose material information to the Russian court.
The judge granted the motion to strike the fraud defenses. The frauds in question were intrinsic rather than extrinsic frauds. That is, the frauds were frauds that was intrinsic to the controversy the foreign court decided, rather than a fraud on another matter, e.g., “where a defendant is induced not to defend by a false promise to discontinue the action.” According to the judge, under the UFMJRA, intrinsic fraud is not a defense to enforcement of a foreign judgment. I will leave it at that, but note that many commentators have called the intrinsic/extrinsic fraud distinction into question.