Articles Posted in International Law

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R.B. (father) and D.R. (mother) were citizens of India who were married in India. They came to California, where they had their only child, a daughter, born in October 2013. In December 2016, the father allegedly slapped the child and hit the mother. In February 2017, the mother discovered that the father was involved with another woman. She immediately left for India with the child. In 2017, the mother obtained a restraining order in India giving her sole custody of the child. Shortly thereafter, the father obtained an ex parte order (later stayed) in California giving him sole custody of the child. After an evidentiary hearing, the trial court ruled that it had jurisdiction, but that India was a more appropriate forum. It therefore stayed the California proceeding. The father appealed, contending the trial court erred by finding that India was a more appropriate forum, because: (1) India did not have concurrent jurisdiction under the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA); and (2) the trial court misevaluated the statutorily relevant factors. In the published portion of its opinion, the California Court of Appeal held India could be an inconvenient forum even if it did not have concurrent jurisdiction under the UCCJEA. In the nonpublished portion, the Court found no other error. Hence, the Court affirmed. View "R.B. v. D.R." on Justia Law

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The Convention on the Service Abroad of Judicial and Extrajudicial Documents in Civil or Commercial Matters does not permit Chinese citizens to be served by mail, nor does it allow parties to set their own terms of service by contract. The Court of Appeal reversed the trial court's denial of a motion to set aside a default judgment against SinoType, a Chinese company. In this case, the trial court acknowledged that the service of the summons and petition had not complied with the Hague Service Convention, but concluded that the parties had privately agreed to accept service by mail. The court held, however, that SinoType was never validly served with process, and thus no personal jurisdiction by the court was obtained and the resulting judgment was void as violating fundamental due process. View "Rockefeller Technology Investments (Asia) III v. Changzhou Sinotype Technology Co." on Justia Law

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Plaintiff AO Alpha Bank (Alpha Bank) initiated this lawsuit pursuant to the Uniform Foreign-Country Money Judgments Act (Recognition Act; Code Civ. Proc., sections 1713–1725)1 to recognize a Russian judgment against defendant Oleg Yakovlev. Yakovlev moved for summary judgment, arguing the judgment could not be recognized because: (1) the Russian court lacked personal jurisdiction; (2) he did not receive notice of the Russian proceeding in sufficient time to enable a defense; and (3) the Russian court proceeding was incompatible with due process. His central premise was that service of process in the Russian proceedings was ineffective. The trial court agreed and denied recognition of the Russian judgment on personal jurisdiction grounds. It granted Yakovlev's motion for summary judgment and denied Alpha Bank's cross-motion for summary judgment. After review, the California Court of Appeal reversed, finding due process did not require actual notice; it required only a method of service "reasonably calculated" to impart actual notice under the circumstances of the case. The Court found service by registered mail to the address Yakovlev designated in the surety agreement met that standard. Yakovlev did not meet his burden to establish a basis for nonrecognition on grounds of lack of personal jurisdiction, lack of notice, or incompatibility with due process. Accordingly, the presumption in favor of recognition applied, and the Russian judgment was entitled to recognition. View "AO Alpha-Bank v. Yakovlev" on Justia Law

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A father objected to a California court order confirming the registration of an Italian child and spousal support order pursuant to the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act (UIFSA). On appeal, Father argued the trial court: (1) “misallocated to Father the burden of proving that Italy is not a state under UIFSA,” (2) “improperly deprived Father of an evidentiary hearing to refute the notion that Italy is such a state,” (3) “erroneously refused to render a statement of decision,” and (4) “erred as a matter of law in concluding that Italy is a state under UIFSA.” Finding no merit to these contentions, the Court of Appeal affirmed the trial court’s order. View "Cima-Sorci v. Sorci" on Justia Law

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The Sixth Appellate District directed the superior court to reconsider its denial of a motion to dismiss or stay a personal injury lawsuit under the doctrine of forum non conveniens. The suit was filed by a Canadian citizen and resident of British Columbia against Fox, a California corporation that manufactures bicycle parts. The plaintiff was injured while mountain biking in Canada on a custom-built bicycle that included parts manufactured by Fox. The plaintiff filed another court action in Vancouver, naming other defendants. Fox argued that British Columbia, where the Canadian case was ongoing, was a suitable forum because plaintiff was a British Columbia resident, the accident took place in British Columbia, and all relevant evidence, medical personnel, and percipient witnesses were located there. Fox believed it was at an unfair disadvantage because it had no way to compel the appearance of crucial Canadian witnesses, and that the cases should be tried together to prevent piecemeal litigation. Fox stipulated that it would subject itself to jurisdiction in British Columbia. The superior court applied the “seriously inconvenient forum” standard in denying Fox’s motion. The court of appeal stated “a foreign, noncitizen plaintiff’s choice of forum is entitled to less deference.” View "Fox Factory, Inc. v. Superior Court" on Justia Law

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Cynthia C. and Gerardo L. appealed the termination of their parental rights to their daughter, R. L. Gerardo contended the jurisdictional and dispositional findings and orders, and all subsequent orders, had to be reversed because the juvenile court did not have home state jurisdiction under the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act. He also contended he did not receive notice of the proceedings pursuant to the Convention on the Service Abroad of Judicial and Extrajudicial Documents in Civil or Commercial Matters. Cynthia joined in Gerardo's arguments to the extent they inured to her benefit, but raised no other issues. After review of the trial court record, the Court of Appeals found Cynthia and Gerardo's arguments unavailing, and affirmed termination of their parental rights. View "In re R.L." on Justia Law

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In this case, the trial court granted Christian Noergaard’s request to remove his 11-year-old daughter from the care of her mother Tammy Noergaard and return the child to Denmark without an evidentiary hearing on critical aspects of Tammy’s objections under the Hague Convention. The trial court declined to address mother’s allegations father e-mailed a death threat against her and the daughter's younger sister or her exhibits and testimony supporting her claim he engaged in a history of spousal abuse and child abuse. According to mother, father’s abuse caused the daughter to run away from his care in Denmark and flee to Orange County with her maternal grandmother. Because due process required an opportunity for mother to be heard on claims that would prevent the daughter's return under the Hague Convention, the Court of Appeal reversed the trial court's judgment and remanded for a full evidentiary hearing. View "Noergaard v. Noergaard" on Justia Law

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This petition involves a paternity and support action filed in a Zurich court in 2008, alleging that petitioner, a resident of California, is the father of Jayden. Both Jayden and his mother live in Switzerland. The court held that when a foreign judgment establishing paternity and child support is registered in California for enforcement purposes under the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act, Fam. Code 4900 et seq., a California court order may not order genetic testing to challenge registration of that order. In the context of this case, genetic testing is not relevant to any matter that is properly before the trial court in this enforcement proceeding under the Act. Accordingly, the court granted the petition for writ of mandate. View "County of L.A. Child Supp. Serv. Dept. v. Super. Ct." on Justia Law

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In 2009, on Highway 101 in Monterey County, a bus driver lost control of the vehicle, which collided with bridge rails. The bus, carrying 34 French tourists, rolled; 18 occupants were ejected. Several were thrown over the bridge onto railroad tracks. The driver and four passengers were killed; 21 were severely injured. Capitales Tours and other defendants moved to dismiss or stay California lawsuits, asserting that France was the suitable forum. Plaintiffs argued that most of the documents and witnesses were in California, and that medical personnel and hospitals would likely receive nothing if the cases were transferred. There were more than $5 million in outstanding medical bills. The court found that public and private interest factors favored France because plaintiffs sought application of the French Tourism Code and would require translation. The court stayed the actions for one year. If France accepted jurisdiction, the actions would be dismissed. Capitales initiated proceedings in Paris, but the pretrial judge invoked lis pendens, because the Monterey court had not completely declined jurisdiction. While appeal was pending in France, the California court of appeal affirmed the stay. On remittitur, Capitales moved to dismiss, citing plaintiffs’ failure to initiate proceedings in France and resistance to their jurisdiction. The court dismissed. The court of appeal reversed, holding that further proceedings are necessary before dismissal. View "Auffert v. Capitales Tours" on Justia Law

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In "Hahn v. Diaz-Barba," (194 Cal.App.4th 1177 (2011)), the Court of Appeal affirmed an order, issued under the forum non conveniens doctrine, staying an action against residents of California for tortious interference with contract and related claims for the sale of an interest in a Mexican business. In this petition, the issue was whether the court erred by granting plaintiffs' motion to lift the stay on the ground Mexican courts dismissed two separate suits they filed in that country, making it an unavailable alternate forum. Defendants contended the ruling was erroneous because the evidence showed plaintiffs did not prosecute their action in Mexico in good faith. Among other things, defendants claimed they unreasonably delayed filing suit in Mexico and purposely drafted deficient complaints to ensure their rejection. Additionally, defendants argued the court prejudicially erred by denying their request to cross-examine the independent expert it appointed on Mexican law. After review, the California Court of Appeal concluded defendants' contentions lacked merit, and thus denied the petition. View "Diaz-Barba v. Super. Ct." on Justia Law