Ontario Court Recognizes US Judgment, stating “there are no reasons not to enforce” the US Judgment

Gilbertson Davis LLPCivil Liability, Civil Litigation, Commercial and Contract Litigation, Debt and Enforcing Judgments, Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards, Enforcement of Foreign Judgments0 Comments

In the recent decision of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice (“ONSC”), Runco v. Engenheiro, 2023 ONSC 4767, the applicant sought recognition and enforcement of an order of the Supreme Court of the State of New York, County of Westchester (the “Foreign Judgment”), among other relief, including the appointment of a receiver to sell her apartment building that she jointly owned with the respondent. The Foreign Judgment incorporated the Parties’ divorce agreement and required that the applicant receive US$500,000 in exchange for her interest in the apartment building.

The respondent defended the application, citing to multiple reasons why the application should not be granted, including that the Foreign Judgment was not final. The ONSC disagreed, opining that the Foreign Judgment was final because the time to appeal or bring a motion to renew is “well out of time”. The ONSC based its decision on the opinion of an expert witness (an attorney admitted to practice law in the State of New York) that the Foreign Judgment was final as it had been signed, entered with the court, and could not be rescinded.

The respondent also argued that the Foreign Judgment was not a monetary judgment, and therefore should not be enforced in Ontario. The ONSC disagreed, advising that the New York Court described its own order as a monetary judgment. Further, the ONSC opined that even if the respondent was correct, Ontario courts may enforce non-monetary judgments and awards for equitable relief. In consideration of whether or not to enforce a non-monetary judgment, the Ontario court ought to consider the following questions:

  • Are the terms of the order clear and specific enough to ensure that the respondents will know what is expected of them?
  • Is the order limited in scope and did the originating court retain the power to issue further orders?
  • Is the enforcement the least burdensome remedy for the Canadian justice system?
  • Are any third parties affected by the order?
  • Will the use of judicial resources be consistent with what would be allowed for domestic litigants?

Lastly, the respondent submitted that the Foreign Judgment should not be recognized in Ontario because it is not clear, with which the ONSC also disagreed, finding that the Foreign Judgment is “sufficiently clear”.

The ONSC found that the applicant satisfied all three elements of the test for the recognition of a foreign judgment in Ontario:

  • The foreign court took jurisdiction according to Canadian conflict of law rules;
  • The Foreign Judgment is final and conclusive; and
  • The responding party does not make out any of the applicable defences of fraud, public policy or natural justice.

Recognizing that the Ontario court is to take a “generous and liberal approach to the recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments”, the ONSC agreed that the Foreign Judgment should be recognized and concluded that there “are no reasons not to enforce” the Foreign Judgment. The ONSC also appointed a receiver, as requested by the Applicant.

At Gilbertson Davis LLP, our lawyers can assist you, your business, company, partnership or corporation in applying to the court for the recognition and enforcement in Ontario of your judgment obtained in another jurisdiction. Gilbertson Davis LLP lawyers have experience in proceedings involving Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Judgments, Recognition and Enforcement of International Arbitration Awards, Commercial Litigation, Civil LitigationBusiness Torts, and Business  Litigation matters and can assist you in resolving your legal issues in a timely and cost-effective manner. Our mission is to provide creative, sensible, cost-effective, long-term resolutions to clients. Please contact Gilbertson Davis LLP to schedule a consultation.

Brief informational summaries about insurance litigation, commercial litigation and family law litigation matters in the courts of Ontario and Canada are periodically published on our website. Please note that our website content is for informational purposes only, and should not be construed or relied upon to provide legal advice. If you require legal advice, please request an initial consultation with Gilbertson Davis LLP using the Request Consultation Form on this webpage or by contacting our Intake Coordinator on (416) 979-2020, ext. 223 (both subject to the Terms of Use described on our Contact page).
Comments & Opinions by Gilbertson Davis LLP lawyers and staff on its Blog, or in media interviews, appearances or publications, or in professional publications, are personal to them, and do not necessarily represent the opinions of the Firm or anyone at the Firm other than the individual expressing those comments or opinions.

About the Author

Gilbertson Davis LLP

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *