Execution of Foreign Judgments

Legal Guidance for Collecting Business Debts in New York

New York is a hub for commercial activity. Often, businesses in this state conduct transactions with out-of-state and foreign organizations. This means that a number of entities will have to litigate in other jurisdictions to get paid. Unfortunately, a debtor does not always voluntarily pay off a debt because a judgment has been entered against it in court. In many cases, the judgment must be executed for the creditor to actually recover the funds owed. This may involve the recognition and enforcement of a judgment that was obtained in a jurisdiction outside of New York or the United States. The debt collection attorneys at Klapper & Fass can help creditors located anywhere in the U.S. as well as international creditors seek recovery from recalcitrant debtors who are located in New York or who have assets in New York. We use skillful negotiation, sound strategies, and aggressive litigation tactics to assist our clients.

The Execution of Foreign Judgments

How you obtained a foreign judgment affects the procedures you will need to use to enforce it in New York. When a defendant appears and litigates the underlying case in the other jurisdiction, it is easier to execute the resulting judgment. If the defendant appeared and litigated, you will need an exemplified copy of the judgment from the clerk of the court that awarded it and information about whether the defendant in the case made any payments, whether there was a stay on the judgment, and the debtor's last known address. The foreign judgment will need to be turned into a New York judgment by filing appropriate paperwork with the clerk of the court in the county where the debtor resides. The debtor also will be entitled to notice of the entry of the judgment in New York.

When the foreign judgment is obtained by default because the defendant did not answer the lawsuit, this state will not automatically recognize the judgment. Instead, you will need to file an action or pursue a summary procedure to get New York to recognize and enforce the foreign judgment. If you do the latter, you will file a motion for summary judgment that is designed to make sure the defendant received proper service of legal papers and that recognizing the judgment would not violate public policy.

The New York court that presides over the summary procedure will have to review whether there was adequate service of the legal papers and whether the foreign court had jurisdiction to hear and decide the case.

Grounds under which a foreign judgment will not be recognized under New York Civil Practice Law and Rules Law §5304 include when it is rendered under a system that does not offer impartial tribunals, that has procedures incompatible with due process, or that did not have personal jurisdiction over the debtor. A court also can choose not to recognize a foreign judgment for other reasons, such as when there was no jurisdiction over the subject matter, the defendant did not get notice, the basis of the judgment is repugnant to public policy, or the judgment was obtained fraudulently.

Generally, the advice of a lawyer can be helpful in determining whether to sue only on the judgment or also add a cause of action based on the underlying debt collection. Among other things, you will need to consider the possibility of the original foreign judgment failing or the defendant's willingness to try to re-litigate the entire claim.

Discuss Your Commercial Collections Matter with a New York Lawyer

From our New York offices, the commercial collections attorneys at Klapper & Fass represent both domestic and foreign organizations throughout the nation and the world that wish to execute on foreign judgments. We have assisted clients in Rockland, Suffolk, Nassau, and Westchester Counties, as well as Brooklyn, the Bronx, Manhattan, Queens, and Staten Island. Our attorneys also provide legal services in states such as Massachusetts, Illinois, Texas, and Michigan. We accept referrals from commercial debt collection agencies. Contact us by calling 914.287.6466 or by completing our online form.