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National Union Fire Insurance Co. of Pittsburgh v. People’s Republic of the Congo.

  • Georges R. Delaume


This appears to be the first decision dealing with the recognition in the United States of a foreign judgment rendered against the government of a third country. At issue was the recognition of a default judgment rendered by the English High Court of Justice, Chancery Division, against the People’s Republic of the Congo (Congo). The facts leading to the English judgment were as follows. In 1984 the Congo issued to an English bank a promissory note in the amount of over $26 million corresponding to a Credit Facility Agreement (Credit Agreement) with the bank. At the same time, the National Union Fire Insurance Co. of Pittsburgh (NUFI) became the insurer of the Congo’s obligations under the note. When the Congo failed to make payment, NUFI paid in its stead and became subrogated to the rights of the lender.



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1 729 F.Supp. 936, 940.

2 Id. at 939.

3 Id.

4 Id. at 940.

5 N.Y. Civ. Prac. L. & R. 5301–5309 (McKinney 1988) [hereinafter CPLR].

6 28 U.S.C. §§1330(a), 1605(a)(1).

7 760 F.2d 390 (2d Cir. 1985).

8 CPLR, supra note 2, §5304(b) provides in pertinent part for nonrecognition of foreign money judgments where: “2. the defendant in the proceedings in the foreign court did not receive notice of the proceedings in sufficient time to enable him to defend; 3. the judgment was obtained by fraud; 4. the cause of action on which the judgment is based is repugnant to the public policy of this state.”

9 Ch. 33, reprinted in 17 ILM 1123 (1978).

10 Id. §12(6).

11 For a discussion of the traditional American view that a U.S. court will not sit as an appellate court to review alleged cases of fraud perpetrated on the foreign rendering court, see E. Scoles & P. Hay, Conflict of Laws §24.17 (1984).

12 See Allied Bank Int’l v. Banco Credito Agricola de Cartago, 757 F.2d 516, 519 (2d Cir.) (stating that even where “parties may agree to renegotiate conditions of payment, the underlying obligations to pay nevertheless remain valid and enforceable”), cert, dismissed, 473 U.S. 934 (1985).

13 729 F.Supp. at 944.

14 28 U.S.C. §§1605(a)(6) (in regard to immunity from jurisdiction) and 1610(a)(6) (in regard to immunity from attachment or execution); 9 U.S.C. §15 (relating to the act of state doctrine).


National Union Fire Insurance Co. of Pittsburgh v. People’s Republic of the Congo.

  • Georges R. Delaume


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