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Louis Dreyfus Commodities Suisse SA v. Financial Software Sys., Inc.

Superior Court of Pennsylvania

July 29, 2014

LOUIS DREYFUS COMMODITIES SUISSE SA, Appellant
v.
FINANCIAL SOFTWARE SYSTEMS, INC., Appellee

Argued May 7, 2014

Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas, Montgomery County, Civil Division, No(s).: 2013-03678. Before TILSON, J.

Adam D. Brown, Philadelphia, for appellant.

Samantha L. Southall, Philadelphia, for appellee.

BEFORE: ALLEN, MUNDY, and FITZGERALD,[*] JJ.

OPINION

FITZGERALD, J.

Page 80

Louis Dreyfus Commodities Suisse SA (" Appellant" ) appeals from the order entered in the Montgomery County Court of Common Pleas granting the petition of Financial Software Systems, Inc. (" Appellee" ) to strike and vacate the judgment entered in Pennsylvania in favor of Appellant and dissolve the garnishment against National Penn Bank. We hold that a party cannot enforce a foreign nation money judgment in Pennsylvania unless that judgment has been recognized as valid pursuant to the Uniform Foreign Money Judgment Recognition Act (" Recognition Act" ), 42 P.S. § § 22001-22009. Accordingly, we affirm.

The factual and procedural history, as recounted by the trial court, is as follows:

This is an action to enforce a foreign judgment commenced in this jurisdiction on February 20, 2013, with the filing of a praecipe to file and index a foreign judgment.[1] The praecipe averred that [Appellant] obtained a judgment in the amount of $717,733.12 for a breach of contract against [Appellee] in the High Court of Justice, Queen's Bench Division, Manchester District Registry, Mercantile Court in Manchester, UK on January 18, 2013. This praecipe also requested costs in the amount of $43,839.97 for a total judgment of $761,733.12. The parties began their contractual relationship when they entered into a Spectrum Software License and Maintenance Agreement on October 11, 1996. This Agreement was amended by further documentation between the parties in 1999 and 2012.

Page 81

A writ of execution was filed on March 8, 2013. The certificate of service filed on February 20, 2013, averred that Appellee was served by " hand delivery." The writ of execution [was] served upon National Penn Bank, where Appellee maintained its operating account, as garnishee, on March 12, 2013, by the Sheriff of Montgomery County. Appellee filed a petition to strike judgment and vacate execution on the grounds that Appellant failed to properly serve it pursuant to the terms of the Hague Convention on the Service Abroad of Judicial and Extra Judicial Documents, that this court lacked personal jurisdiction, and that the judgment was also unenforceable pursuant to the Uniform Enforcement of Foreign Judgments Act [(" Enforcement Act" )]. Additionally, Appellant entered judgment against National Penn Bank on March 26, 2013. On March 27, 2013, Appellee filed a petition to stay execution of the garnishee judgment. Testimony was taken . . . on April 5, 2013 . . . . After status conferences with the parties throughout the summer of 2013, the [trial court] entered an amended order on September 10, 2013, striking and vacating the judgment. Appellant filed a motion for reconsideration on September 27, 2013. Before this court had the opportunity to act upon this motion, Appellant filed the instant appeal . . . on September 30, 2013.[2]

Trial Ct. Op., 12/6/13, at 1-2 (capitalization and footnote omitted).

Appellant has raised the following five issues on appeal:

Does § 22006(3) of the [Recognition Act], bar a party from challenging a judgment issued against it by a court in England for lack of personal jurisdiction, when the party attempting to challenge the judgment agreed to submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England in a forum selection clause contained in a valid, binding contract with the party seeking to enforce the judgment?
Does the [Enforcement Act], which is the sole procedural mechanism for enforcing any non-Pennsylvania judgment, including a foreign-nation judgment, apply to proceedings in which a party seeks to enforce a judgment issued by a court in England?
Does the [Enforcement Act] require a party to initiate separate, preliminary proceedings for recognition of a foreign-nation judgment before the party ...

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