Recognition of United States and Other Foreign Default Judgments – The Ontario Court Does Not Consider Underlying Merits!

Gilbertson Davis LLPBusiness Litigation, Civil Liability, Civil Litigation, Commercial and Contract Litigation, Contract Disputes, Cross-Border Litigation, Debt and Enforcing Judgments, Enforcement of Foreign Judgments0 Comments

Just over a month ago, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice (“ONSC”) in North Field Technology Ltd. v. Project Investors, Inc., 2022 ONSC 5731, recognized as orders of Ontario a default judgment and various ancillary orders that the Applicant obtained in the United States District Court, Southern District of Florida (“Florida Court”), against the Respondents.

The Florida Court found that the Respondents were evading service of the legal proceedings in Florida and issued a series of judgments against the Respondents such as an asset freeze injunction and permanent injunction restraining the Respondents from transferring their assets, as well as orders for certain monetary and declaratory relief, among other orders.

The ONSC validated service of the Ontario application, recognizing that the Florida Court “has already found that the respondents were avoiding service”. The ONSC also found that the Applicant has met the test for recognition and enforcement of the Florida Judgments in Ontario, stating that “The Florida court had jurisdiction to issue the Florida Judgments, which are final, and the respondents have raised no defence to recognition and enforcement of the Florida Judgments”.

Importantly the ONSC opined that the Ontario court “is not to adjudicate the underlying claim that gave rise to the foreign judgment even where the foreign judgment was obtained through default proceedings instead of trial” (my emphasis added). Further, the ONSC noted that it has “jurisdiction to enforce a foreign injunction where the order is from a court of competent jurisdiction, is final and conclusive, and is sufficiently precise” and that “non-monetary foreign judgments are also capable of being recognized and enforced in Canada”.

Lastly, the ONSC awarded the Applicant $30,000 in legal costs for the Ontario application.

N.B. there is a 2-year limitation period in Ontario for the recognition of judgments obtained in foreign jurisdictions. Do not sit on your foreign judgment as you may risk losing the ability to enforce it in Ontario.

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.


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