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Resorts World at Sentosa Pte Ltd. v. Chan

United States District Court, D. Hawaii

September 28, 2016

RESORTS WORLD AT SENTOSA PTE LTD., Plaintiff,
v.
MICHELLE MAI CHAN, Defendant.

          ORDER GRANTING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT ON ENFORCEMENT OF FOREIGN MONEY JUDGMENT

         INTRODUCTION

         Defendant Michelle Mai Chan incurred gambling debts to Plaintiff Resorts World at Sentosa Pte Ltd. (“RWS”) in 2010. RWS now seeks to enforce a foreign-country money judgment entered against Chan for the unpaid debts by the High Court of the Republic of Singapore in 2015 (“Singapore Judgment”). The parties dispute whether, under Singapore law, the default judgment entered against Chan is final for purposes of enforcement under the Hawaii Uniform Foreign-Country Money Judgments Recognition Act, Hawaii Revised Statutes (“HRS”) § 658F-1 et seq. Because the Singapore Judgment is final, conclusive, and enforceable under Singapore law, RWS is entitled to summary judgment.

         BACKGROUND

         I. Singapore Judgment

         In 2014, RWS sued Chan in the High Court of the Republic of Singapore to collect on a debt that Chan owed RWS. 5/3/16 Declaration of Shankar Angammah Sevasamy (“5/3/16 Sevasamy Decl.”) ¶ 2. On May 13, 2015, the High Court of the Republic of Singapore entered default judgment in favor of RWS and against Chan, pursuant to Order 13 of the Singapore Rules of Court. The judgment was for the principal amount of $1, 168, 450.00 in Singapore dollars, plus interest and costs. Singapore Judgment, attached as Ex. 1 to Complaint (Dkt. No. 1-2). Once entered, Chan could have sought to set aside the Singapore Judgment in the Singapore Courts, but never did so. 5/3/16 Sevasamy Decl. ¶ 5; see also Declaration of Lim Yin Sin Daniel (“Lim Decl.”) ¶ 6 (authenticating copy of Order 13).

         II. RWS Enforcement Action

         On December 3, 2015, RWS filed its Complaint seeking recognition and enforcement of the Singapore Judgment as a foreign-country money judgment under Section 658F-6 of the Hawaii Uniform Foreign-Country Money Judgments Recognition Act, HRS § 658F-1 et seq. (“Hawaii Recognition Act”). The Court previously ruled that the High Court of the Republic of Singapore had both personal jurisdiction over Chan and had subject matter jurisdiction over the matter, resulting in the Singapore Judgment. See 4/18/16 Order (Dkt. No. 28). RWS now seeks summary judgment in order to recognize and enforce its foreign-country money judgment against Chan.[1]

         STANDARD OF REVIEW

         Pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56(a), a party is entitled to summary judgment “if the movant shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.”

         A court may grant summary judgment in an action seeking to recognize and enforce a foreign-country money judgment. See Naoko Ohno v. Yuko Yasuma, 723 F.3d 984 (9th Cir. 2013) (affirming summary judgment in favor of plaintiff in action seeking enforcement of Japanese money judgment under California's Uniform Foreign-Country Money Judgments Recognition Act).

         Pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 44.1, the Court “treats foreign law determinations as questions of law, not fact.” de Fontebrune v. Wofsy, No. 14-5790, slip op. at 9, 2016 WL 5349749, at *3 (9th Cir. Sept. 26, 2016).

         DISCUSSION

         I. Recognition And Enforcement Of The Singapore Judgment

         For purposes of summary judgment, the material facts concerning the recognition of the Singapore Judgment are not contested. The parties dispute only whether the Singapore Judgment, a default judgment entered pursuant to Order 13, Rule 1 of the Singapore Rules of Court, is final, conclusive, and enforceable under the law of Singapore. Because the Court concludes that it is, RWS' motion for summary judgment in GRANTED.

         A. Hawaii Recognition Act Framework And Findings

         Under the Hawaii Recognition Act, the Court “shall recognize a foreign-country judgment” where the requirements of the Act are met. HRS § 658F-4(a). Section 658F-3 provides the following framework:

(a) Except as otherwise provided in subsection (b), this chapter applies to a foreign-country judgment to the extent that the judgment:
(1) Grants or denies recovery of a sum of money; and
(2) Under the law of the foreign country where rendered, is final, conclusive, and enforceable.
* * * *
(c) A party seeking recognition of a foreign-country judgment has the burden of establishing that this chapter applies to the foreign-country judgment.

HRS § 658F-3.[2] RWS has met this burden here.

         The Singapore ...


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