Maryland judgment domesticated in Ontario

Elisha Hale, LL.B (Hons) Dip.Civil Litigation, Cross-Border Litigation, Debt and Enforcing Judgments, Enforcement of Foreign Judgments0 Comments

In Kaveh v Kaveh Semnani 2019 ONSC 996, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice was asked to determine whether the Maryland Court had jurisdiction and if the judgment could be recognized and enforced in Ontario.

The Plaintiff alleged that the Defendant owed him money and the Defendant argued that the Maryland Court did not have proper jurisdiction to hear the case. The Defendants did not defend the case before the Maryland Court and a default judgment was granted in their absence.  Subsequently, the Plaintiff sought to have the Maryland judgment recognized in Ontario.

Real and substantial connection test

The Court applied the ‘real and substantial connection test’ which functions only to test whether the Maryland Court correctly assumed jurisdiction over the matter.  The Ontario Court did not consider the facts of the original matter before the Maryland Court, except to consider if the facts would relate to any potential defence to recognizing the foreign judgment.

The Plaintiff’s arguments:

  • Neither of the parties were resident in Iran, with the Plaintiff residing in Maryland where the action was raised;
  • No agreements between the parties occurred in Iran; and
  • The source of the funds sent to the Defendant did not come from Iran, they came from the Plaintiff’s bank account in Maryland where the action was raised.

The Defendant’s arguments:

  • The assets at the centre of the dispute were located in Iran;
  • The Defendant resided in Ontario, therefore the correct jurisdiction was Ontario, not Maryland; and
  • Communications between the parties were received in Ontario and funds requested were to be sent to an Ontario bank account.

The Court held:

  • No agreements made between parties occurred in Iran;
  • The practicality for the Defendant to defend an action in Iran was less realistic than defending the action in Maryland;
  • The Plaintiff resided in Maryland; and
  • The funds were sent from Maryland.

For the above reasons, the Court was satisfied that the Maryland Court met the real and substantial connection test and that there were no applicable defences proven; the Court recognized the judgement, enforceable against the Defendant in Ontario.

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About the Author
Elisha Hale, LL.B (Hons) Dip.

Elisha Hale, LL.B (Hons) Dip.

Articling Student since September 2019, with a particular interest in business disputes, family law and mediation. Bio | Contact

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