The case of the day is Attorney General of Canada v. Malone (Cal. Ct. App. 2018). John Malone had failed to repay his Canadian student loans. In 1991, the Canadian government sued him in Edmonton. Malone was living in California at the time. In 2003, the court entered judgment against him for nearly $40 thousand. In 2013, the Canadian government sought to renew the judgment (as Canadian law apparently required). The Canadian court granted the application an renewed the judgment in the amount of nearly $55 thousand.

In 2014, the Canadian government sought to recognize and enforce the judgment in the Superior Court in Los Angeles. The complaint specifically sought recognition of the 2003 judgment, which, it said, had been renewed in 2013. The court granted Canada summary judgment, and Malone appealed.

On appeal, the issue was the statute of limitations. Under California’s enactment of the UFCMJRA, an action must be brought “within the earlier of the time during which the foreign-country judgment is effective in the foreign country or 10 years from the date that the foreign-country judgment became effective in the foreign country.” When did the ten years run? From the date of the 2003 judgment, or from the date of the 2013 renewal?

In the briefs the Canadian government wrote: “The weight of the authority provides Canadian law shall apply, which supports the renewal is not a new order, but rather an extension of the time to enforce the original judgment.” I think what the government was trying to show was that Canadian, not California, law should govern as to the statute of limitations. But the court apparently never had any question that California law governed the statute of limitations. I don’t know that every state adopts this view, but the Restatement view ( § 118 cmt. c) is that a statute of limitations applicable to actions for recognition in the state where recognition is sought always applies.

Because everyone agreed that Canada was seeking recognition of a 2003 judgment, not a 2013 judgment, and because the California statute of limitations had expired, the court reversed remanded.