The case of the day is Alberta Securities Commission v. Ryckman (Del. Super. Ct. 2015). In 1996, the Alberta Securities Commission, following a hearing, found that Lawrence G. Ryckman, the chairman and director of Westgroup, had violated Alberta securities laws by participating in a “complex scheme that created a false and misleading appearance of trading designed to deceive investors to trade at artificial prices.” The administrative decision imposed nearly $500,000 in costs. The Commission obtained a judgment in Canada against Ryckman on the basis of the administrative decision.
Ryckman moved from Canada to Arizona in 1997. The Commission obtained an Arizona judgment against Ryckman in an action in an Arizona Superior Court, which was affirmed on appeal. It then sought to enforce the Arizona judgment in Delaware under the Uniform Enforcement of Foreign Judgments Act, the law in force in most states under which states grant full faith and credit to sister-state judgments. It was undisputed that the Commission would not have been able to obtain recognition of the Alberta judgment directly in Delaware, for two reasons. First, the statute of limitations under Delaware law had expired; and second, Delaware law (the UFCMJRA) does not provide for recognition and enforcement of foreign money judgments to the extent the judgment is for a fine or other penalty.
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The case of the day is Louis Dreyfus Commodities Suisse S.A. v. Financial Software Systems, Inc. (Pa. 2014). Dreyfus had obtained a judgment in the English High Court for $717,733.12 for breach of contract against FSS. It sought to collect in Pennsylvania, though as we shall see it made an elementary mistake.
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The case of the day is Khatib v. Murrar (Ill. App. Ct. 2012). Lami Khatib and Najat Murrar were married in Jordan in 2000. At the time of the marriage, Khatib paid Murrar’s father a dowry of one golden dinar, and under the marriage contract there was also a deferred dowry of JOD 5,000. Khatib and Murrar moved to the United States in 2009, but they separated and Khatib moved back to Jordan alone. In December 2009, Khatib obtained a certificate of revocable divorce from the Religious Court of Sweileh. The revocable divorce gave Khatib the “right to return [Murrar] to [Khatib’s] matrimonial bond within the legally prescribed waiting period.”
Murrar had no notice of the proceedings and learned of them only when she received a copy of the certificate of revocable divorce. After she had notice of the revocable divorce, a certificate of final divorce was registered in the Jordanian Ministry of the Interior. Murrar sued for divorce in Chicago, and Khatib moved to dismiss for lack of jurisdiction on the grounds that Murrar had already been divorced. Khatib was unsuccessful. He then sought recognition of the Jordanian judgment of divorce, and the Circuit Court certified the question for review by the Appellate Court.
The court held that the judgment could not be recognized. First, it was not entitled to recognition under the UFMJRA, because it was not a money judgment. Easy. Second, it is not entitled to recognition under the UEFJA, which in Illinois apparently applies both to sister-state judgments and to foreign state judgments. Here, the court held that the Jordanian proceedings had denied Murrar due process, which seems also clearly correct. Last, the court refused recognition under non-statutory principles of comity for essentially the same reasons.