Legal Question in International Law in Massachusetts

Protections for a foriegn comp doing business in US.

My father-in-law's Italian vinery wants to sell wine in the US. He asks, if an importer defaults on a payment, can he pursue a judgement in US courts? Also, is there a legal time frame within which judgements against companies must be settled (paid in full)?

Asked on 12/12/06, 7:15 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

Re: Protections for a foriegn comp doing business in US.

Your question is both simple and complex. The short answer is that it is likely that he can sue an american importer in the US for breach of contract and failure to pay for goods. You need to know where the importer is incorporated and where it is subject to the jurisdiction of the courts. In the US, each state has its own laws and jurisdiction although state laws for the most part are very similar. Even if you sue in federal court, you need to know how jurisdiction is established.

You need to have a written agreement and it should indicate what law is applied and where jurisdiction over the contract is enforceable. For instance if the contract were governed by Italian Law and its courts, you could sue the US company in Italy. Once obtaining the judgment in Italy you could seek to enforce that judgment in the US by international convention, assuming US and italy have such matters covered by their trade treaty and international agreements.

Please feel free to contact me if you have more questions.

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Answered on 12/12/06, 10:32 pm

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