March 26, 2008
International Agreements: Once More
Apologies to those of you who are getting tired of the treaties-as-contracts theme,but once more unto the breach! We have had a couple of recent posts, here and here, about the danger that its international partners will be less willing to enter into agreements with the United States because of recent trends in U.S. law, and today there are new developments on this topic, although this is hardly news.
Our friends over at the Consumer Law and Policy blog have a post today on a New York Times story about the refusal of an Italian court to enforce a judgment against an Italian motorcycle helmet manufacturer because "a peculiarity of American law — punitive damages — was so offensive to Italian notions of justice that it would not enforce the Alabama judgment."
One might assume that some sort of international agreement would be in place that would reqiure foreign courts to enforce judgments of U.S. courts. According to the U.S. Department of State, no such agreements are in place and here's why:
Although there are many reasons for the absence of such agreements, a principal stumbling block appears to be the perception of many foreign states that U.S. money judgments are excessive according to their notions of liability.
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