The Supreme Court has upheld a ruling by a Florida court that the local entity DYC Fishing is to pay just over US$1.7 million plus interest to the American firm Perla Del Caribe.
The Supreme Court has also ruled that the Frank Cox-controlled DYC should obey the order of the Florida court and pay legal fees of approximately US$130,000 to the American firm.
But in the ruling handed down late last month, the now retired Supreme Court Judge Roy Anderson granted a stay of execution to allow DYC to consider if it wants to appeal his ruling.
Lawyers representing Perla Del Caribe had gone to the Supreme Court seeking to enforce the order of the court in the United States which had ruled in its favour, ending a long-running commercial dispute with DYC.
However, DYC lawyers claimed that the judgment from Florida should not be recognised or enforced in Jamaica because the American court had no jurisdiction to hear the matter and the judgement was obtained by fraud.
In his ruling, Mr Justice Anderson rejected DYC’s claim that the American court had no jurisdiction to hear the case.
“... It does seem that, on a balance of possibilities and on the evidence of the respective filing by each side ... the defendant had a real and substantial connection with Florida,” Anderson said in his written judgment.
“I accordingly hold that the claimant has satisfied its duty to show that jurisdiction did in fact reside in the Florida Court,” added Anderson.
The judge was equally dismissive of the claim that the Florida judgment should be ignored because it was obtained by fraud.
He ruled that the arguments being made by attorneys representing DYC were not substantially different from those made in Florida.
“The defence of fraud was not made out since the applicants had not claimed that there was evidence of fraud that they could not have discovered had they defended the Florida action ...,” said Anderson.
“A defendant has the burden of demonstrating that the facts sought to be raised could not have been discovered by the exercise of due diligence prior to the obtaining of the foreign judgment,” added Anderson.
According to Anderson: “I can find no evidence to lead me to the view that the proceedings in the Florida Court were not conducted in a fair manner ... .”
The Sunday Gleaner is yet to determine if DYC is going to appeal the ruling of Anderson.