Case of the Day: Panchenkova v. Chigirinsky

The case of the day is Panchenkova v. Chigirinsky (Conn. Super. Ct. 2013), is an action for recognition and enforcement of a Russian divorce judgment.

Panchenkova and Chigirisky were previously married, but they had been divorced in Russia. Under the Russian divorce judgment, Chigirinsky was required to make payments to Panchenkova. Panchenkova alleged that Chigirinsky had failed to make payments and sought recognition and enforcement of the Russian judgment in Connecticut. Chigirinsky defended by asserting that the Russian judgment had been procured by fraud. The fraud in question? A supposed misrepresentation to the Russian court and a supposed fraudulent failure to disclose material information to the Russian court.

The judge granted the motion to strike the fraud defenses. The frauds in question were intrinsic rather than extrinsic frauds. That is, the frauds were frauds that was intrinsic to the controversy the foreign court decided, rather than a fraud on another matter, e.g., “where a defendant is induced not to defend by a false promise to discontinue the action.” According to the judge, under the UFMJRA, intrinsic fraud is not a defense to enforcement of a foreign judgment. I will leave it at that, but note that many commentators have called the intrinsic/extrinsic fraud distinction into question.

This Post Has One Comment

  1. Alejandro Manevich

    Ted,

    Among the commentators that have called the distinction into question—indeed, discarded it completely—is the Supreme Court of Canada, in the leading case of Beals v. Saldanha, [2003] 3 S.C.R. 416 at para. 51:

    The historic description of and the distinction between intrinsic and extrinsic fraud are of no apparent value and, because of their ability to both complicate and confuse, should be discontinued. It is simpler to say that fraud going to jurisdiction can always be raised before a domestic court to challenge the judgment. On the other hand, the merits of a foreign judgment can be challenged for fraud only where the allegations are new and not the subject of prior adjudication. Where material facts not previously discoverable arise that potentially challenge the evidence that was before the foreign court, the domestic court can decline recognition of the judgment.

    Best regards,

    Alex

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