Garza v. Asbestos Corporation Limited
In the case of Garza v. Asbestos Corporation Limited the judgment creditors sought enforcement of their California judgment in Quebec, Canada. While Quebec law prohibits the enforcement of a foreign judgment based on an asbestos claim, the judgment creditors were never the less able to obtain an assignment of the debtors rights to payment from nearly every bank in Canada. Furthermore, the judgment creditors where successful in compelling the judgment debtors to answer post-judgment discovery regarding the location of its assets.
The transcripts of the hearings in which these motions were heard offer a fascinating insight into the often uncharted territory of enforcement of U.S. judgments over international borders.
This case revolves around the ability of a judgment creditor to reach assets of the judgment debtor which are located off-shore. These facts unfortunately predominate in many mass tort or significant damage actions in which the perpetrator is domiciled off shore. typically these fact patterns reveal that the off shore manufacturer has put into commerce dangerous or defective goods which kill maim or injure. As expected American consumers suffer greatly in that these products cause unbelievable losses. Lawsuits and big judgments follow.
The off-shore manufacturer routinely ignore legal process leading to multi-million dollar default judgments and thereby leading to a massive campaign initiated by the judgment creditors to collect these judgments. This case provides for a linear stream of orders which illustrates the power of the court to issue orders for the assignment of rights and orders compelling discovery.