Articles Posted in California Courts of Appeal

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Plaintiffs sued to set aside "fraudulent and voidable transactions” implemented to “hide millions of dollars in assets” after plaintiffs obtained a $68 million judgment in 2016. Plaintiffs added Admiring Dawn, a Hong Kong entity as a defendant. Plaintiffs retained ABC to work with the Hong Kong Central Authority to serve Admiring Dawn. In July 2017, the Central Authority issued a certificate stating it was unable to serve Admiring Dawn. Plaintiffs twice unsuccessfully attempted to serve Admiring Dawn via mail with return receipt requested. Admiring Dawn changed its name to Whyenlee. Plaintiffs filed a Third Amended Complaint naming Whyenlee as a defendant. Plaintiffs retained a Hong Kong-based law firm, CFN, which advised plaintiffs they could personally serve Whyenlee through an agent in Hong Kong and did not need to effect service through a judicial officer or public official. Plaintiffs used an agent to serve Whyenlee personally and sent the service documents via first class mail to Whyenlee. Whyenlee moved to quash service, arguing that plaintiffs failed to comply with the Hague Service Convention. The court of appeal affirmed the denial of the motion. Submitting a request to a central authority is not the only method of service approved by the Convention. The Hong Kong agent who personally provided Whyenlee with the summons was, under Hong Kong law, a “competent person[] of the State of destination” to serve process without first making a request to the Central Authority View "Whyenlee Industries Ltd. v. Superior Court" on Justia Law

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In a child custody proceeding arising under the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA), the Court of Appeal held that the trial court erred by granting mother's motion to quash temporary emergency orders on child custody and visitation. The trial court had found that a Belarus residency action was a child custody proceeding within the meaning of the UCCJEA, and the Belarus court had jurisdiction substantially in conformity with the UCCJEA. The court held that the UCCJEA mandates that before a child custody determination is made, notice and an opportunity to be heard must be given to all persons entitled to notice. In this case, father received no notice of the Belarus action, and notice was not given in a manner reasonably calculated to give actual notice. Therefore, the Belarus court did not have jurisdiction in conformity with UCCJEA standards. The court reversed and remanded for further proceedings. View "W.M. v. V.A." on Justia 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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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