Enforcement of foreign judgments in France and the United States

RE: Exequatur in France.

Dear Attorney Smith,

With a view to the enforcement in France of the Florida money judgment, I have reviewed the decision of the Circuit Court for Broward County.

In order for this foreign (Florida) decision to have a reasonable chance of exequatur in France and thereafter to be become enforcement in France:

  1. the Florida decision must have been rendered by a credible judicial system,
  2. the non-prevailing party must have demonstrably been granted due process,
  3. the Florida decision has become final under Florida law, and
  4. the Florida decision has become executory under Florida law.

Presumably we should be able to make a convincing show of 1 & 2.

Also, presumably the decision will not become final until the Florida period for filing an appeal shall have expired or, in the event of a timely appeal, all rights of appeal have been duly exhausted.

(Kindly let me know the appellate rights of Madame P.  Presumably Madame P has been formally notified of the decision and possibly her right of appeal. I noted at the foot of the decision the words “Copies: All Parties”. Did the Court send the copies to the parties by certified mail? Did your client keep the envelope in which she received her copy?)

Once the decision has become final and executory under Florida law, you will need to obtain from the Florida Secretary of State an apostille on the original copy of the decision.

Then we can commence in France before the Tribunal de Grand Instance a relatively simple proceeding seeking the exequatur of the final and enforceable Florida money judgement.

A copy of a French assignation, a photocopy of the decision with apostille and a translation of the assignation will need to be served on Madame P where she lives, be such place be in France or the US.

Then Madame P will have the right to oppose exequatur.

Presumably, if we have done everything right, exequatur will be granted.

Naturally Madame P would have a right of appeal.

However, when seeking exequatur, we will ask that the decision of the French trial court be immediately enforceable. At this early stage, it is not possible for me the know of such request for “exécution provisoire” will be granted.

Perhaps once Madame P has been served and has consulted French legal counsel she will decide to settle due to the potential cost of defending, consisting of the fees if her attorney, perhaps € 1,000 of your client’s legal fees (if we prevail) and minor court cost.

Assuming that the matter does not settle and your client prevails, if Madame P has discoverable assets in France (e.g., bank accounts, real property, etc.), my huissier can place a lien on the assets and presumably they can thereafter be liquidated and the proceeds, less the huissier’s collection fee, paid into my trust account so I can wire the proceeds to you.

If you should have any further questions, please to not hesitate to call me.

Best regards,

Author: Jonathon Wise Polier
Avocat aux Barreaux de Paris et de New York
Attorney-at-Law (Paris & New)