The trial team of Bradley D. Weech, Marshall R. Hunt and Robert N. Sewell won a landmark appellate case recently in Netherlands v. MD Helicopters, an international multi-million dollar judgment/collections dispute that resulted in a precedent-setting Opinion by Division One of the Arizona Court of Appeals. This Opinion will have a significant positive impact on the Arizona business community as it will make it easier for businesses in foreign countries, and the foreign countries themselves, to enter into contracts with Arizona companies and know that their contracts will be enforced in either their country and/or Arizona.
The case involved two money judgments originally obtained by the State of the Netherlands in the Dutch courts (The Hague) in a dispute arising from the sale of helicopters to the Netherlands National Police. The issue was whether those judgements were enforceable in Arizona. MD Helicopters, headquartered in Mesa, Arizona, was represented, over the course of the case, by teams of lawyers from four international law firms, and the company’s general counsel.
In a Published Opinion, the Appellate Court affirmed the Superior Court’s (1) summary judgment for the State of the Netherlands, (2) denial of MD Helicopters’ cross-motion for summary judgment, and (3) judgment recognizing and domesticating the Dutch Courts’ two money judgments under Arizona’s new Foreign Country Money Judgments Recognition Act (the Superior Court also recognized the judgments under Arizona’s common law which was ruled still applicable and not superseded by the new statute).
With regard to Arizona’s new statute, the Court of Appeals held:
“(1) a final judgment obtained in a Dutch court is recognizable under Arizona’s version of the Uniform Foreign-Country Money Judgments Recognition Act, Ariz. Rev. Stat. (“A.R.S.”) §§ 12-3251 to 12-3254 (the “Act”), because the Netherlands has a reciprocal law [including judge made law] related to foreign-country money judgments that is similar to the Act; and.
(2) the money judgments obtained by the Netherlands can be recognized because they are not a fine or other penalty prohibited under the Act.”
“We are very pleased with the very well written decisions of both the trial and appellate courts,” said Bradley Weech, lead trial attorney for the Davis Miles McGuire Gardner team. “This Opinion has important state and international implications that substantially increase international confidence, both here and abroad, that Arizona will enforce lawful foreign judgments. The Opinion further encourages and solidifies certainty for commerce between Arizona and foreign countries,” he said.
“We are also very pleased that this Opinion highlights the depth of the litigation capabilities at Davis Miles McGuire Gardner. At a time when everyone is concerned with maximizing value in business decisions, we are able to provide that value in matters ranging from the simple to the very complex, and when the stakes are extremely high.”