In most cases, the object of the litigation exercise for plaintiffs is to obtain a judgment that can be enforced. This is usually not a problem when the debtor is operating an ongoing business, using bank accounts and engaging with customers who owe it money. When, however, the judgment debtor is foreign and has no ongoing business operations and no visible assets, the usual approach of enforcing a judgment against it by identifying the debtor’s assets and levying on them becomes more challenging. Two recent, related New York decisions illustrate the difficulties in pursuing certain foreign debtors.
The cases concern a lawsuit brought by Motorola in the Southern District of New York based on claims of fraud and misapplication of funds, in which it was awarded, in 2003, a substantial judgment for over $2 billion against members of the Turkish Uzan family, who failed to defend the lawsuit on the merits. In 2006, these damages were supplemented by an award of $1 billion in
Over the ensuing years, the U.S. courts have not minced words in describing the defendants and their responses to the judgments.