Saturday, May 17, 2014
Somportex Lmt v Philadelphia Chewing Gum case brief summary
Somportex Lmt v Philadelphia Chewing Gum (3rd Cir 1971)
§ P Somportex (English co) sued D (American co) in England
§ D conditionally appeared in English court (ie submitted to the court’s jurisdiction, except to any objections that you make to the jurisdiction), but decided not to file a defense
§ Default J against D; P came to U.S. federal court to enforce it
§ D argued that the English judgment should not be honored
o Issue: Should the judgment of the English Court be enforced? (YES, due to Comity)
· If the foreign judgment appears to have been rendered by a competent court, etc, then courts of other countries should honor it
· Comity should be withheld only when its acceptance would be contrary or prejudicial to the interest of the nation called upon to give it effect
· Through D’s initial conditional appearance it had its chance to defend itself against an unfavorable judgment and decided not to; D shouldn’t get a second chance
§ Due Process
· The English procedure comports with PA’s standards of DP
· the fact that the judgment was obtained by D’s default does not dilute its effectiveness (note: not all courts agree with this, b/c they think that D never got his “first bite” at the apple)
o In the absence of fraud or collusion, a default judgment is as conclusive an adjudication as when rendered after answer and complete contest in the open courtroom
· PA law doesn’t grant damages in cases such as this
· However, the variance with English law does not “tend to clearly injure the public health, etc” of PA
· So the English damage award does not offend PA’s pub. policy
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