Supreme Court of California Justia
Citation 45 Cal. 4th 192, 195 P.3d 604, 85 Cal. Rptr. 3d 233

Manco Contracting v. Bezdikian

Filed 11/17/08

IN THE SUPREME COURT OF CALIFORNIA

MANCO CONTRACTING CO. (W.W.L.), )

Plaintiff and Appellant,
S154076
v.
Ct.App. 2/8 B182885
KRIKOR BEZDIKIAN,
Los Angeles County
Defendant and Respondent.
Super. Ct. No. SC081737

In this case we decide when a foreign judgment is final for purposes of
recognition under the Uniform Foreign Money-Judgments Recognition Act
(UFMJRA) (Code Civ. Proc., former § 1713.1 et seq., added by Stats. 1967,
ch. 503, § 1, p. 1847, repealed by Stats. 2007, ch. 212, § 1, eff. Jan. 1, 2008)1 and
what statute of limitations applies.
The UFMJRA authorizes recognition of “any foreign judgment that is final
and conclusive and enforceable where rendered even though an appeal therefrom
is pending or it is subject to appeal.” (Former § 1713.2.) When a foreign
judgment is appealed, and the foreign nation’s law provides that a judgment on

1
After this court granted review, the Legislature repealed the UFMJRA and
enacted in its place the Uniform Foreign-Country Money Judgments Recognition
Act (UFCMJRA) (Code Civ. Proc., § 1713 et seq., added by Stats. 2007, ch. 212,
§ 2.) The new law applies to all recognition actions filed on or after its effective
date of January 1, 2008. (Code Civ. Proc., § 1724, subd. (a).) All further
unlabeled statutory references in this opinion are to the Code of Civil Procedure,
and all citations to sections 1713.1 through 1713.8 refer to the provisions of the
former UFMJRA.
1


appeal is not final, does section 1713.2 permit a California court to recognize the
judgment? We conclude the answer is no. The most reasonable interpretation of
the admittedly confusing statutory language is that the law of the nation where the
judgment was rendered determines whether the judgment is sufficiently final,
conclusive, and enforceable to be subject to recognition in California. If the
foreign nation’s rule is that judgments are final even though an appeal is pending,
a judgment may be recognized in California despite an appeal. If the foreign rule
is that judgments are not final while an appeal is pending, a judgment on appeal
cannot be recognized in California. This interpretation is consistent with the
conclusions reached by other states applying the uniform act and the apparent
intent of the commissioners who drafted it.
The UFMJRA does not prescribe a statute of limitations for actions to
recognize foreign judgments.2 However, the act does provide (with one exception
not relevant here) that a “foreign judgment is enforceable in the same manner as
the judgment of a sister state which is entitled to full faith and credit.” (Former
§ 1713.3.) An action to enforce a sister state judgment is subject to a 10-year
statute of limitations (§ 337.5). It appears section 1713.3 reflects the Legislature’s
intent to apply the same limitations period to the enforcement of judgments from
foreign nations. A 10-year limitations period is also consistent with the 10-year
period of enforceability for California judgments. (§ 683.020; see also § 683.110
et seq. [providing for extension of the 10-year enforceability period by renewal of
the judgment].) Over a century ago, this court did hold in Dore v. Thornburgh
(1891) 90 Cal. 64 that the four-year “catchall” limitations period of section 343
applied to an action to recover upon a foreign judgment. However, Dore was

2
The omission is remedied in California’s new version of the act, which
states that a recognition action must be brought “within the earlier of the time
during which the foreign-country judgment is effective in the foreign country or
10 years from the date that the foreign-country judgment became effective in the
foreign country.” (§ 1721.)
2


decided long before the Legislature enacted the UFMJRA. Thus, it is no longer
controlling.
BACKGROUND
On November 16, 1997, the Qatari company Manco Contracting Co.
(W.L.L.) (Manco) obtained a multimillion-dollar judgment against Krikor
Bezdikian in the Grand Civil Court of Doha, in the nation of Qatar. Bezdikian
appealed from the judgment, then left the country. He now lives in California. On
May 23, 2000, a Qatari appellate court amended the judgment, reducing the award
from more than $4.2 million to approximately $3.76 million. The Qatari appellate
court issued a new judgment awarding Manco this new amount plus “a reasonable
share of court expenses” and an amount for attorney fees.
On May 20, 2004, Manco filed a complaint in the Los Angeles County
Superior Court seeking to domesticate its Qatari judgment under the UFMJRA.
Bezdikian sought summary judgment, arguing that the cause of action accrued in
1997, and was therefore barred by the four-year statute of limitations of
section 343, which both sides believed applied. (See Dore v. Thornburgh, supra,
90 Cal. 64, 66-67.)
In response, Manco submitted an expert declaration stating that, under
Qatari law, a judgment is “never final” before conclusion of an appeal unless the
parties previously agreed to treat the judgment as final, the judgment is
nonappealable, or the time for appeal has expired. Thus, Manco maintained its
cause of action did not accrue until May 23, 2000, when the Qatari appellate court
issued its amended judgment. The trial court rejected this argument. Based on the
analysis in Korea Water Resources Corp. v. Lee (2004) 115 Cal.App.4th 389
(Korea Water), the court interpreted section 1713.2 to provide that the UFMJRA
permits recognition of a foreign judgment that has been appealed, or is subject to
appeal, regardless of whether the foreign country recognizes it as “final” under
such circumstances. Accordingly, the court concluded Manco’s cause of action
3
for recognition accrued in November 1997, when the Qatari trial court entered
judgment against Bezdikian.
The Court of Appeal reversed. Disagreeing with Korea Water, the court
interpreted section 1713.2 to mean that a foreign judgment is not subject to
recognition under the UFMJRA unless and until it is final, conclusive, and
enforceable under the law where the judgment was rendered. If the foreign
jurisdiction’s law does not consider a judgment to be final while it is on appeal,
then a claim under section 1713.2 to recognize the judgment cannot be brought
until after the appellate process has ended. The Court of Appeal concluded the
expert testimony offered by Manco raised a triable issue of fact about whether the
initial judgment was sufficiently “final” and “conclusive” under Qatari law to
satisfy section 1713.2, and therefore summary judgment should have been denied.
Because the court’s interpretation of section 1713.2 meant that Manco’s claim was
timely even under the four-year statute of limitations of section 343, the Court of
Appeal did not consider Manco’s additional arguments, raised for the first time on
appeal, that no statute of limitations applies to a recognition action, or,
alternatively, that the 10-year limitations period applicable to enforcement of sister
state judgments (§ 337.5) is controlling.3
We granted review to resolve both the accrual and statute of limitations
questions.

3
Although the Court of Appeal did not reach the statute of limitations
question here, a different panel of the same appellate division did in Guimaraes v.
Northrop Grumman Corp.
(2007) 156 Cal.App.4th 644, review granted January
23, 2008, S158736. The Court of Appeal in Guimaraes concluded the 10-year
limitations period of section 337.5 applies to an action for recognition of a foreign
judgment.
4


DISCUSSION
I.
When a Foreign Judgment Is Final Under the UFMJRA
California adopted the UFMJRA in 1967. Before the Legislature codified
the provisions of this uniform act, the recognition and enforcement of foreign
money judgments proceeded as a matter of comity. (Renoir v. Redstar Corp.
(2004) 123 Cal.App.4th 1145, 1150; see Hilton v. Guyot (1895) 159 U.S. 113,
202-203, 205-206.) Comity remains the basis for recognizing foreign judgments
not covered by the act, such as domestic relations judgments. (§§ 1715, subd.
(b)(3), 1723; see In re Stephanie M. (1994) 7 Cal.4th 295, 314 [observing, with
respect to Mexican child custody decree, that “courts of this state may, but are not
required to, execute the judgment of a foreign nation as a matter of comity”].)
The purpose of the uniform act was to codify the most prevalent common
law rules for recognizing foreign money judgments and thereby encourage the
reciprocal recognition of United States judgments in other countries. (13 pt. II
West’s U. Laws Ann. (2002) U. Foreign Money-Judg. Recognition Act, Prefatory
Note, p. 40 (uniform act).) Many civil law countries make the recognition of
foreign judgments dependent upon reciprocity. Drafters of the uniform act
believed codification of uniform rules would satisfy foreign reciprocity concerns
and encourage greater recognition and enforcement of American judgments
abroad. (Ibid.; see also Bank of Montreal v. Kough (N.D.Cal. 1977) 430 F.Supp.
1243, 1249 [“The purpose of the Uniform Act was to create greater recognition of
the state’s judgments in foreign nations. This was to be accomplished by
informing the foreign nations of particular situations in which their judgments
would definitely be recognized, and thus encourage them to recognize California
judgments”].)
The dispute here centers on the meaning of section 1713.2, which describes
the type of foreign judgments that may be recognized under the UFMJRA.
Section 1713.2 states: “This chapter applies to [1] any foreign judgment that is
final and conclusive and enforceable where rendered [2] even though an appeal
5
therefrom is pending or it is subject to appeal.” (Former § 1713.2.) California
courts have disagreed about the extent to which the second clause undermines the
first.
The Court of Appeal in this case gave primacy to the first clause,
interpreting section 1713.2 “to consider a foreign judgment final, despite an
appeal, if it is otherwise ‘final and conclusive and enforceable where rendered.
(§ 1713.2, italics added.)” The court observed that, unlike California, some
foreign jurisdictions consider a judgment to be final and conclusive even if subject
to appeal or modification. Recognizing these differences, the Court of Appeal
interpreted section 1713.2 to mean that, in all cases, recognition of a foreign
judgment depends upon the judgment’s finality, conclusiveness, and enforceability
in the country where rendered, even if the foreign country’s rules are different
from those we apply in California.
The
opposite
conclusion was reached in Korea Water, supra, 115
Cal.App.4th 389. There, the court termed the second clause of section 1713.2 the
“appellate caveat.” Giving primacy to the “caveat,” the Korea Water court
interpreted the statute to mean “California . . . will recognize foreign judgments
that are final, conclusive, and enforceable, notwithstanding the fact they may still
be subject to appellate review,” regardless of the foreign law on this point. (Korea
Water, supra, at p. 398.) The Korea Water court recognized that there is
considerable tension between the two clauses. Its attempt to reconcile them
ultimately fails the tests of logic and practicality, however. The court observed,
“section 1713.2’s reference to a final, conclusive and enforceable judgment ‘where
rendered’ makes it clear it is the status of the foreign judgment in the foreign
country that determines whether the judgment is ripe for recognition in
California.” (Ibid.) Yet it ultimately undermined this observation by concluding
that the “appellate caveat” language was meant to override any contrary foreign
law concerning the effect of an appeal: “The appellate caveat to section 1713.2
makes it clear that the fact that a foreign judgment is still vulnerable to change on
6
appeal in the foreign country is not alone enough to preclude recognition of a
foreign judgment which is otherwise final, conclusive, and enforceable in the
foreign country.” (Ibid., second italics added.) The court appeared to say that we
look to foreign law to decide whether a judgment is final, conclusive and
enforceable, but if, under foreign law, the judgment is not final because of a
pending or a potential appeal, we ignore foreign law and recognize the judgment
anyway.
The
Korea Water court went on to apply this principle in the case before it,
which involved a multimillion-dollar Korean judgment. (Korea Water, supra, 115
Cal.App.4th at p. 394.) After the judgment was affirmed by Korea’s intermediate
appellate court, the judgment creditor filed a recognition action in California and
obtained a writ of attachment on the judgment debtor’s assets in this state. (Id. at
pp. 394-395.) However, the appellate process in Korea was not finished. The
judgment debtor moved for summary judgment in the recognition action on the
ground that the Korean judgment was not final, conclusive, and enforceable in
Korea because it was on appeal before the Korea Supreme Court. (Id. at p. 395.)
He relied on article 471 (1) of the Korean code of civil procedure, which states
that a Korean judgment “ ‘shall not become final and conclusive during the period
in which an appeal may be filed or when a lawful appeal has been filed within the
prescribed period.’ ” (Korea Water, supra, at p. 399.) The trial court did not
dismiss the recognition proceeding but stayed it, pursuant to section 1713.6,4 to
await the Korea Supreme Court’s ruling. (Korea Water, supra, at p. 395.) Later,
after the Korea Supreme Court rejected the legal theory of liability on which the
case had been tried, “canceled” the intermediate appellate court’s judgment, and

4
“If the defendant satisfies the court either that an appeal is pending or that
he is entitled and intends to appeal from the foreign judgment, the court may stay
the proceedings until the appeal has been determined or until the expiration of a
period of time sufficient to enable the defendant to prosecute the appeal.” (Former
§ 1713.6.)
7


remanded the case for a new trial, the California trial court concluded the Korean
judgment was no longer final, conclusive, and enforceable for purposes of
allowing recognition here. (Ibid.) It therefore dismissed the recognition action
and discharged the writ of attachment. (Ibid.)
The Court of Appeal agreed the recognition action was properly dismissed
because the judgment at issue had been largely undermined by the decision of the
Korea Supreme Court. (Korea Water, supra, 115 Cal.App.4th at p. 402.) The
Korea Supreme Court’s ruling had rendered the judgment “uncertain not only as to
amount but also as to whether it is supported by a viable legal theory.” (Ibid.) As
a result, the Court of Appeal concluded the judgment was not sufficiently
“conclusive,” under section 1713.2, to be recognized in California. (Korea Water,
supra, at pp. 402-403.)
However, the Court of Appeal also discussed whether the recognition
action should have been dismissed previously because the judgment was not “final
and conclusive” under Korean law when it was on appeal. (Korea Water, supra,
115 Cal.App.4th at pp. 399-400.)5 The court did not consider Korea’s law on

5 The
Korea Water decision addressed the finality issue first, concluding that
the judgment was sufficiently final despite contrary Korean law. The court went
on, however, to decide that the judgment was not “conclusive” due to later
developments in the Korea Supreme Court. The judgment creditor argued that
under these circumstances the trial court should simply have stayed the California
action pending resolution of the entire appellate process in Korea. (Korea Water,
supra, 115 Cal.App.4th at p. 403.) The appellate court approved of this procedure
with respect to finality, but not for conclusiveness. (See ibid. [noting a stay would
be appropriate only if the case satisfied all of section 1713.2’s “threshold”
requirements].)
Korea Water appears to be the only published decision under the uniform
act to find that a foreign judgment is “final” yet not “conclusive.” It is not
immediately apparent how the meaning of “final” differs from the meaning of
“conclusive” in section 1713.2, but another provision of the UFMJRA is
illuminating. Section 1713.4 states that a foreign judgment “is not conclusive” if
it was rendered under a system without impartial tribunals or procedures
compatible with due process, or if the foreign court lacked personal or subject

8


finality determinative. It reasoned that doing so “would in effect be eviscerating
the appellate caveat provision of section 1713.2.” (Korea Water, supra, at p. 399.)
In other words, the court interpreted section 1713.2 to mean that “California has
chosen not to preclude recognition merely because the judgment is subject to
appellate review” (Korea Water, supra, at p. 400), even if this result is directly
contrary to the law of the country where the judgment was rendered.
Perhaps recognizing the practical difficulties this interpretation could
impose—difficulties which were in fact presented in the case before it, when the
Korea Supreme Court overturned the very judgment a California court was
prepared to recognize—the Court of Appeal posited that the Legislature must have
included the “appellate caveat” to give judgment creditors access to provisional
remedies. (Korea Water, supra, 115 Cal.App.4th at pp. 401-402.) Under the
court’s view, a party could bring a recognition action to obtain provisional
remedies to satisfy an appealed foreign judgment. The court could then stay the
action until conclusion of the appellate process to avoid preserving a foreign
judgment that might later be reversed. (Id. at p. 401.) The problem is there is no
basis in legislative history, or elsewhere, to indicate that this process was
contemplated or intended. On the contrary, as we have explained, the stated
purpose of the uniform act was to satisfy the reciprocity concerns of foreign
nations and encourage them to recognize judgments from the United States. (13
pt. II West’s U. Laws Ann., supra, U. Foreign Money-Judg. Recognition Act,

matter jurisdiction. (Former § 1713.4, subd. (a)(1)-(3).) To the extent that
“conclusive” differs from “final” in section 1713.2, these are the only statutory
grounds for finding a foreign judgment inconclusive. (Cf. Kam-Tech Systems Ltd.
v. Yardeni
(2001) 340 N.J.Super. 414, 422 [774 A.2d 644, 649] [under New
Jersey’s enactment of the uniform act, “courts must recognize a final foreign
country judgment for money damages as ‘conclusive between the parties,’
[citation] unless the judgment debtor establishes one of the specific grounds for
non-recognition that are enumerated in the Act”].) The facts of this case do not
require us to decide precisely how finality differs from conclusiveness under
section 1713.2.
9


Prefatory Note, p. 40.) Korea Water’s interpretation of section 1713.2 appears to
run counter to this goal of international cooperation because it would permit
California courts to override foreign law with respect to the finality of a judgment
pending on appeal.
We believe the better interpretation of section 1713.2 is the one reached by
the Court of Appeal here. That is, California courts must recognize a foreign
judgment, regardless of whether it has been appealed or is subject to appeal, so
long as the judgment is final, conclusive, and enforceable in the country where it
was rendered. The statutory language requiring recognition “even though an
appeal therefrom is pending or [the judgment] is subject to appeal” (former
§ 1713.2) is not an exception to the requirements of finality, conclusiveness, and
enforceability in the nation of origin. Rather, this language is meant to amplify the
directive that finality, conclusiveness, and enforceability are to be assessed based
on the law of the foreign jurisdiction where judgment was rendered. In other
words, the “appellate caveat” operates to ensure that foreign rules regarding
finality are honored, even if they differ from the California approach.
A cursory review of cases under the uniform act reveals that foreign
countries have different standards governing when a judgment is final. (Compare
S.C. Chimexim S.A. v. Velco Enterprises Ltd. (S.D.N.Y. 1999) 36 F.Supp.2d 206,
213 [Romanian law regards a judgment as final despite a pending appeal]; Dart v.
Dart (1997) 224 Mich.App. 146, 153-154 [568 N.W.2d 353, 357] [English law
regards a judgment as final even though it is subject to appeal or subsequent
modification] with Mayekawa Manufacturing Co. v. Sasaki (1995) 76 Wn.App.
791, 797 [888 P.2d 183, 187] [under Japanese law, the lodging of an appeal
prevents a judgment from becoming final].) Indeed, even in this country, federal
and state laws may differ about when a judgment is final, conclusive, and
enforceable. While in California a judgment is not final and conclusive between
the parties when it is on appeal, or for as long as it remains subject to appeal, the
federal rule is contrary. (Franklin & Franklin v. 7-Eleven Owners for Fair
10
Franchising (2000) 85 Cal.App.4th 1168, 1174; Sandoval v. Superior Court
(1983) 140 Cal.App.3d 932, 936-937; see Nathanson v. Hecker (2002) 99
Cal.App.4th 1158, 1163, fn. 1 [explaining difference between California and
federal law on finality].) By clarifying that a foreign judgment must be recognized
in California if it is regarded as final under the rendering country’s law, even
though it has been appealed or is subject to appeal, the Legislature apparently
sought to deter a judicial impulse to apply California’s own, potentially contrary,
understanding of when a judgment becomes final. If a foreign jurisdiction’s law
provides that a judgment is final and conclusive despite an appeal, section 1713.2
requires California courts to recognize a judgment from that jurisdiction unless
certain grounds for nonrecognition apply (see former §§ 1713.4-1713.5).
However, in such cases section 1713.6 gives the court discretion to stay the
recognition proceedings until all foreign appeals have concluded.
This interpretation is generally consistent with decisions reached in other
states that have adopted the uniform act. For example, in Dart v. Dart, supra, 568
N.W.2d at page 357 (applying Michigan law) and S.C. Chimexim S.A. v. Velco
Enterprises Ltd., supra, 36 F.Supp.2d at page 213 (applying New York law), the
courts concluded foreign judgments could be recognized under the act, despite the
fact that the judgments were on appeal (Chimexim) or subject to modification
(Dart), because they were final under the laws of the countries where they were
rendered.
Our interpretation is also consistent with the one decision we have found
that addresses the precise issue before us, i.e., whether the uniform act permits
recognition of a foreign judgment that is not final under the law of the foreign
jurisdiction where judgment was entered. In Mayekawa Manufacturing Co. v.
Sasaki, supra, 888 P.2d at pages 184-185, a party sought recognition of a Japanese
money judgment that stated it could be “ ‘preliminarily’ ” enforced. However, the
judgment resulted from a special proceeding to which objections had been lodged,
and Japanese law provided that a judgment does not “ ‘become final and
11
conclusive’ ” until the time for taking an appeal or lodging an objection has
expired. (Id. at p. 187.) Based on Washington’s version of the uniform act’s
applicability provision, which mirrors our section 1713.2,6 the court concluded it
could not recognize the Japanese judgment. (Mayekawa Manufacturing Co. v.
Sasaki, supra, at p. 188.) Although the judgment was “preliminarily enforceable,”
it was not final and conclusive under Japanese law, and the Washington court
considered this deficiency fatal to the recognition action. (Id. at pp. 187-188.)
The court observed, however, that its ruling did not preclude a later application for
recognition after the judgment became final and conclusive in Japan. (Id. at p.
189.)
To our knowledge, no court or other authority has reached the conclusion in
Korea Water that the uniform act’s requirement of a “final” judgment refers only
to finality in the trial court, i.e., a judgment that is not interlocutory (Korea Water,
supra, 115 Cal.App.4th at pp. 398-399). If the Legislature had intended to restrict
the meaning of “final” in such a manner, it could have easily added the phrase “in
the trial court” after “final.” Moreover, this interpretation of “final” would require
California courts to recognize all noninterlocutory foreign judgments, regardless
of whether such judgments are considered final under the law of the country
“where [they were] rendered” (Former § 1713.2). The plain meaning of the
statutory language requires California courts to look to the foreign jurisdiction’s
law to assess the finality and conclusiveness of a judgment. When foreign law
holds that a judgment is not final if it is interlocutory or if it is subject to appeal,
section 1713.2 requires a California court to honor this procedural rule. We see no

6
“This chapter applies to any foreign judgment that is final and conclusive
and enforceable where rendered even though an appeal therefrom is pending or it
is subject to appeal.” (Wn. Rev. Code § 6.40.020.) The Mayekawa court quoted
only the first part of this statute, however, omitting the words “even though an
appeal therefrom is pending or it is subject to appeal.” (See Mayekawa
Manufacturing Co. v. Sasaki
, supra, 888 P.2d at p. 187.)
12


basis in the statute for courts to distinguish between the types of finality for which
foreign law will be considered.7
It is also worth noting that the Legislature recently removed the “appellate
caveat” language so heavily relied upon by Bezdikian here and by the Korea
Water court. The newly enacted UFCMJRA (see ante, fn. 1) “applies to a foreign-
country judgment to the extent that the judgment both: [¶] (1) Grants or denies
recovery of a sum of money. [¶] (2) Under the law of the foreign country where
rendered, is final, conclusive, and enforceable.” (§ 1715, subd. (a).) Although
provisions of the UFCMJRA apply only to recognition actions begun after the
act’s effective date of January 1, 2008 (§ 1724), legislative history indicates the
new uniform act was intended primarily to clarify provisions of the earlier act that
had led to confusion. (See Sen. Com. on Judiciary, Analysis of Sen. Bill No. 639
(2007-2008 Reg. Sess.) May 8, 2007, p. 2 [“[Sen. Bill No.] 639 would, according
to the sponsors, update and clarify the UFMJRA and correct problems created by
the courts’ interpretations of various provisions of that Act over the years since its
adoption in 1967”].)
Manco submitted evidence indicating the judgment in this case was not
final under Qatari law until May 23, 2000, when the Qatari appellate court issued
an amended judgment.8 Under section 1713.2, a cause of action to recognize the
judgment could not have been maintained before its finality in 2000. Accordingly,
Manco’s May 20, 2004 complaint seeking recognition of the judgment was timely

7
Korea Water Resources Corp. v. Lee, supra, 115 Cal.App.4th 389, is
disapproved to the extent it is inconsistent with our decision.
8
At oral argument, Bezdikian’s counsel emphasized that a writ of execution
would have been available in Qatar upon entry of the trial court’s judgment.
However, this fact establishes only when the judgment became enforceable under
Qatari law. Counsel conceded his argument equates finality with enforceability,
but the UFMJRA explicitly treats them as separate concepts. A foreign judgment
must be “final and conclusive and enforceable” to be recognized here. (Former
§ 1713.2, italics added.)
13


even under the four-year statute of limitation of section 343, and the trial court
erred in granting summary judgment. As we discuss next, however, section 343
does not furnish the limitations period for recognition actions.9
II. Statute
of
Limitations
We last considered the statute of limitations applicable to an action upon a
foreign judgment in 1891. In Dore v. Thornburgh, supra, 90 Cal. 64, the plaintiff
brought an action “to recover upon” a judgment issued by an English court in
1885. (Id. at p. 65.) We rejected the defendant’s argument that the complaint was
barred by the two-year statute of limitations for an action upon a contract. Instead,
observing that an action on a foreign judgment “is not specifically provided for by
any other section of the statute of limitations,” we determined the claim was
governed by the catchall limitations period of section 343. (Dore v. Thornburgh,
supra, at p. 67.) Section 343 stated then, as it does now: “An action for relief not
hereinbefore provided for must be commenced within four years after the cause of
action shall have accrued.”
In 1967, more than 75 years after our decision in Dore v. Thornburgh,
supra, 90 Cal. 64, the Legislature enacted the provisions of the UFMJRA. The act
does not specify a statute of limitations for actions to recognize foreign judgments.
It simply provides that, unless certain specified grounds for nonrecognition apply,
“a foreign judgment meeting the requirements of Section 1713.2 is conclusive
between the parties to the extent that it grants or denies recovery of a sum of
money. The foreign judgment is enforceable in the same manner as the judgment
of a sister state which is entitled to full faith and credit, except that it may not be
enforced pursuant to the provisions of Chapter 1 (commencing with Section
1710.10) of this title.” (Former § 1713.3.) The exception refers to the Sister State

9
Our resolution of the statute of limitations question is an independent,
alternative ground for affirming the decision of the Court of Appeal. (See Bank of
Italy Etc. Assn. v. Bentley
(1933) 217 Cal. 644, 650; Greyhound Lines, Inc. v.
County of Santa Clara
(1986) 187 Cal.App.3d 480, 485.)
14


Money Judgments Act, which provides an expedited procedure for registering and
enforcing sister state judgments in California. (§§ 1710-1710.65; Bank of America
v. Jennett (1999) 77 Cal.App.4th 104, 114-115.)
As initially enacted in 1967, section 1713.3 stated only that foreign money
judgments were enforceable in the same manner as sister state judgments. (Stats.
1967, ch. 503, § 1, p. 1848.) At that time, “ ‘[t]he exclusive way to enforce a
sister state money judgment in California [was] to bring an action on the
judgment . . . . This traditional manner of enforcing judgments of sister states
require[d] all the normal trappings of an original action.’ (11 Cal. Law Revision
Com. Rep. (1973), p. 457.)” (Renoir v. Redstar Corp., supra, 123 Cal.App.4th at
pp. 1150-1151.) When the Legislature passed the Sister State Money Judgments
Act in 1974, it amended section 1713.3 to clarify that judgments secured in
foreign countries cannot be enforced using these new expedited procedures.
(Stats. 1974, ch. 211, § 5, p. 409.) Rather, foreign money judgments must “be
enforced with ‘all the normal trappings of an original action’ that had existed
before in connection with the enforcement of sister state judgments. [Citations.]”
(Renoir v. Redstar Corp., supra, at p. 1151.)
There is an analytical difference between recognition of a foreign judgment
and enforcement of that judgment. A foreign judgment must be recognized before
it is enforced, making enforcement, perhaps, the most common reason for filing
such an action. Of course, recognition may also be sought so that a party may rely
on res judicata or collateral estoppel principles unrelated to enforcement of a
money judgment. (See Rest.3d Foreign Relations Law of the U.S., § 481, com. b,
p. 595; Renoir v. Redstar Corp., supra, 123 Cal.App.4th at p. 1150.) The parties
acknowledge this difference, but they draw different conclusions about its
meaning for purposes of section 1713.3.
Manco notes that California’s UFMJRA does not include a statute of
limitations but requires only that a foreign judgment be “final and conclusive and
enforceable where rendered” to be subject to recognition. (Former § 1713.2,
15
italics added.) This requirement ensures that a foreign judgment will not be
recognized in California if it is unenforceable under the statute of limitations, or
on any other basis, in the country where it was rendered. Manco argues the
absence of a limitations period in the UFMJRA reflects a legislative intent that no
California statute of limitations can bar recognition of a foreign judgment.
The Florida Supreme Court adopted this reasoning in interpreting its
version of the uniform act. (Nadd v. Le Credit Lyonnais, S.A. (Fla. 2001) 804
So.2d 1226 (Nadd).) The court explained that “the UFMJRA contemplates a two-
step process before the judgment can be collected in this state. First, the judgment
must be recognized; then the judgment creditor must institute enforcement
proceedings.” (Id. at p. 1231.) Because the act does not list expiration of the
forum state’s statute of limitations as a ground for nonrecognition of a foreign
judgment, the Nadd court concluded no Florida statute of limitations applies to the
recognition of foreign judgments under its act. (Id. at p. 1233 [“the only limitation
applicable to the recognition of a foreign money judgment is that the judgment be
enforceable where rendered; Florida’s statute of limitations does not affect the
recognition portion of a UFMJRA action”].) The relevance of Nadd’s holding to
our case is questionable because, unlike California, Florida has adopted a
bifurcated approach. Expedited procedures permit the recognition of a foreign
judgment without the filing of a civil action. (See id. at pp. 1230-1231 [discussing
the recognition procedure in Fla. Stat. § 55.604].) However, Florida apparently
requires the bringing of a traditional action to secure enforcement. (See Nadd,
supra, at p. 1232.) The Florida Supreme Court did apply a statute of limitations to
these enforcement actions. Based on a provision requiring enforcement of a
recognized foreign judgment in the same manner as a judgment issued in
Florida,10 the court concluded an action to enforce a foreign judgment must be

10
Florida’s version of the uniform act differs from California’s in this regard,
in that section 1713.3 authorizes enforcement of a recognized foreign judgment

16


filed within Florida’s 20-year limitations period for enforcement of domestic
judgments. (Nadd, supra, at pp. 1232-1233.)11
California has not enacted an expedited procedure for the registration of
foreign judgments. Rather, a party seeking recognition of a foreign judgment
under the UFMJRA must file a civil action. (Renoir v. Redstar Corp., supra, 123
Cal.App.4th at p. 1151.)12 In California, “[c]ivil actions, without exception,” must
be commenced within a statutorily prescribed limitations period. (§ 312, italics
added.) Because the UFMJRA does not set forth its own limitations period for
actions to recognize foreign judgments, we must decide whether the Legislature
intended that recognition actions be governed by a specific statute of limitations or
fall under the catchall limitations period of section 343.
Once a foreign judgment is recognized, it is enforceable in the same manner
as a sister state judgment (former § 1713.3) or domestic judgment (see § 1710.65
[a registered sister state judgment has same force and effect as the judgment of a

“in the same manner as the judgment of a sister state which is entitled to full faith
and credit . . . .” (Former § 1713.3; but see § 1719, subd. (b) [new UFCMJRA
provides that recognized foreign judgment is “[e]nforceable in the same manner
and to the same extent as a judgment rendered in this state”].)
11
Manco also relies on the decision of an Illinois appellate court that
enforcement of a foreign judgment is not subject to a statute of limitations.
(Pinilla v. Harza Engineering Co. (2001) 324 Ill.App.3d 803 [755 N.E.2d 23].)
However, the court in Pinilla was construing the Uniform Enforcement of Foreign
Judgments Act (UEFJA), a uniform act governing enforcement of nonforum
judgments that California has not adopted. (See 755 N.E.2d at pp. 25-26, 28-29.)
Because the Illinois Legislature had amended this act to remove a requirement of
timeliness, Pinilla inferred a legislative intent that no statute of limitations apply
to enforcement actions. (Id. at pp. 28-29.) No analogous legislative action has
occurred in California; therefore, Pinilla is of no assistance.
12
This is no longer always the case under the new UFCMJRA. Section 1718,
subdivision (b) allows the issue of recognition to be raised “by counterclaim,
cross-claim, or affirmative defense” if recognition is sought in a pending action.
When recognition “is sought as an original matter,” however, the issue must still
be raised by filing an action. (§ 1718, subd. (a).)
17


California court]). An action to enforce a sister state judgment is subject to a 10-
year statute of limitations. (§ 337.5, subd. (3).) The period of enforceability of a
domestic judgment is also 10 years (§ 683.020), although this period may be
extended by renewal of the judgment (see § 683.110 et seq.). In our view,
section 1713.3’s provision that a foreign judgment meeting the requirements for
recognition “is enforceable in the same manner as the judgment of a sister state
which is entitled to full faith and credit” conveys a legislative intent that actions to
enforce foreign judgments be subject to the same procedural requirements and
defenses as actions to enforce judgments from other states. One such requirement
is section 337.5’s 10-year statute of limitations. Even Bezdikian concedes that,
under the relevant statutes, a judgment creditor has 10 years to enforce a foreign
judgment. The question he raises is whether the same 10-year limitations period
properly applies to an action seeking to recognize the foreign judgment in the first
place. Bezdikian argues the Legislature’s failure to specify a statute of limitations
for recognition actions, as opposed to enforcement actions, means these actions
must still be subject to the four-year limitations period of section 343, as we
concluded long ago in Dore v. Thornburgh, supra, 90 Cal. at page 67.
We disagree. The distinction Bezdikian seeks to draw between a
recognition action and an enforcement action is artificial and misleading when
applied in the statute of limitations context. Although California does not have
expedited procedures for registration of a foreign judgment, the law of this state
does not require a judgment creditor to file two successive actions, first for
recognition and then for enforcement, in order to recover on a foreign judgment.
When an action is brought on a foreign money judgment, enforcement, i.e.,
recovery of the amount of the judgment, is most frequently the ultimate goal.
Actions such as the one before us are commonly called domestication actions
because the relief they seek is entry of a California judgment for the amount of the
foreign judgment. This “domestication” of the foreign judgment enables the
judgment creditor to pursue all the enforcement avenues available for recovering
18
domestic money judgments. (See, e.g., Korea Water, supra, 115 Cal.App.4th at
p. 395 [action sought California judgment for money owed on Korean judgment];
see also Dore v. Thornburgh, supra, 90 Cal. at p. 65 [action sought “to recover
upon” an English judgment].) Although it might be theoretically possible for a
party to bring a recognition action without seeking to enforce the foreign
judgment, the parties recognize enforcement is almost always the ultimate goal.
Certainly, the present case involves more than a simple claim for recognition.
Manco’s complaint seeks recognition of the Qatari judgment for the purpose of
enforcing it.
Based on the directive of section 1713.3 that foreign judgments be enforced
in the same manner as sister state judgments, we conclude the 10-year statute of
limitations applicable to actions upon sister state judgments (§ 337.5) also applies
to actions upon foreign judgments. This is so regardless of whether the action is
styled as a claim for “recognition” or “enforcement” or “domestication.” Under
section 1713.2, a judgment creditor may seek recognition of a foreign money
judgment as soon as the judgment is final, conclusive, and enforceable under the
laws of the country where it was rendered. At that point, a cause of action for
recognition accrues, and the judgment creditor must bring any claim for
recognition or enforcement of the judgment within 10 years. (§ 337.5, former
§ 1713.3.)
Considering that the Legislature has given judgment creditors 10 years to
enforce domestic and sister state judgments, and has also indicated an intent to
apply this 10-year period to the enforcement of foreign judgments (see former
§ 1713.3), it would make no sense to hold that a shorter limitations period applies
to the preliminary proceedings necessary to recognize the judgment. In a typical
domestication action, Bezdikian’s view would require the judgment creditor to file
an action within four years after judgment was entered in the foreign country even
though a domesticated judgment is enforceable for 10 years under sections 1713.3
and 337.5. This approach would be cumbersome, expensive, and potentially a trap
19
for the unwary. Application of section 343’s shorter limitations period would also
defeat the Legislature’s intent that foreign money judgments be enforceable in the
same manner as sister state judgments (former § 1713.3) in all cases where
enforcement of the judgment is the ultimate aim. Subjecting actions to recognize
foreign judgments to a shorter limitations period than California allows for actions
upon domestic judgments or sister-state judgments would also undermine the
reciprocity goal of the UFMJRA. If recognition of a final, conclusive, and
enforceable foreign judgment is to be barred by a state’s statute of limitations, we
should apply the same limitations period controlling other judgments. “Using the
limitations periods that are generally applicable to the forum state’s own
judgments best assures reciprocity in the recognition and enforcement of our
judgments abroad and gives foreign judgments uniform and fair treatment in
[California] courts.” (Nadd, supra, 804 So.2d at p. 1233.)
Amicus curiae Northrop Grumman posits reasons why the Legislature may
have wished to place a four-year limit on an action to recognize a foreign
judgment even as it allowed a longer time period, i.e., 10 years, for enforcement of
the same judgment. The Legislature may have been especially concerned about a
judgment debtor’s ability to prove defenses to a foreign judgment, for example, or
the Legislature may have been concerned about applying different statutes of
limitations to foreign money judgments as opposed to other foreign judgments not
covered by the UFMJRA. These asserted concerns are not expressed in the
legislative history of the UFMJRA, however, and they are inconsistent with the
Legislature’s codification of a 10-year statute of limitations in the new
UFCMJRA.
Section 1721, which went into effect January 1, 2008, provides: “An action
to recognize a foreign-country judgment shall be commenced within the earlier of
the time during which the foreign-country judgment is effective in the foreign
country or 10 years from the date that the foreign-country judgment became
effective in the foreign country.” Thus, a foreign judgment may be recognized for
20
as long as it is effective in its country of origin up to a maximum of 10 years. The
new uniform act establishes a limitations period of 15 years (13 pt. II West’s U.
Laws Ann. (2008 supp.) U. Foreign-Country Money Judg. Recognition Act, § 9,
p. 18); however, our Legislature reduced this period to 10 years to be consistent
with the 10-year period of enforceability for domestic and sister state judgments.
(See Sen. Com. on Judiciary, Analysis of Sen. Bill No. 639 (2007-2008 Reg.
Sess.) May 8, 2007, p. 16 [suggesting action to recognize a foreign judgment
should have a 10-year statute of limitations “just like all other state judgments”].)
Although legislative history surrounding enactment of the new UFCMJRA is not
controlling here, the Legislature’s expressed concern for uniformity supports our
conclusion that actions on foreign judgments should be subject to the same 10-
year limitations period that applies to all other judgments.
DISPOSITION
The judgment of the Court of Appeal is affirmed, and the case is remanded
for further proceedings in the trial court.
CORRIGAN, J.
WE CONCUR:
GEORGE, C. J.
BAXTER, J.
WERDEGAR, J.
CHIN, J.
MORENO, J.
21




CONCURRING AND DISSENTING OPINION BY KENNARD, J.

This case raises two issues under a now-repealed law, the Uniform Foreign
Money-Judgments Recognition Act (Code Civ. Proc., former § 1713.1 et seq.,
repealed by Stats. 2007, ch. 212, eff. Jan. 1, 2008; hereafter the former act). The
first issue is whether, within the meaning of a provision of that former act, a
foreign country judgment is “final” while it is on appeal in the foreign jurisdiction.
On that issue, the majority holds, as I understand it, that the term “final” as used in
the former act has no fixed meaning, and that the foreign jurisdiction’s law must
be consulted to determine both the meaning of the term “final” and whether,
applying that definition, the foreign judgment is final while on appeal. I disagree.
I conclude that as used in the former act the term “final” means not requiring
further action other than enforcement in the rendering court (that is, ordinarily, the
trial court) and that the foreign jurisdiction’s law should be consulted only to
determine whether, applying that definition of finality, the foreign judgment is
final while on appeal.
The second issue is the statute of limitations that applied to an action
brought under the former act. On that issue, the majority holds that the statute of
limitations was 10 years, the same as for an action on a sister-state judgment.
Here also, I disagree. I conclude that an action on a foreign-country judgment
under the now-repealed act was governed by the four-year “catch-all” limitations
period of Code of Civil Procedure section 343.
1



Although I disagree with the majority’s conclusions on both of these issues,
I agree with its disposition, which effectively remands the matter for further
proceedings in the trial court. As I will explain, I agree that, on the present record,
defendant Bezdikian is not entitled to summary judgment.
I
Plaintiff Manco Contracting Co. (Manco) sued defendant Krikor Bezdikian
(a former partner of Manco) in Qatar, a Persian Gulf emirate. In November 1997,
the Qatar trial court entered judgment against Bezdikian for some 15 million
Qatari riyals (around $4.2 million). After filing an appeal, Bezdikian relocated to
Lebanon and then to California. In May 2000, Qatar’s appellate court rendered its
decision reducing the amount of the award to 13.6 million riyals (around $3.76
million), plus expenses and attorney fees.
In May 2004, Manco brought this action on the Qatari judgment in Los
Angeles Superior Court. Bezdikian moved for summary judgment on the ground
that the action was untimely. He argued that the statute of limitations was four
years, that the limitations period began running in 1997 when the Qatar trial court
entered judgment, and that it expired in 2001. Manco argued, to the contrary, that
the applicable statute of limitations was 10 years, the same as for an action on a
sister-state judgment (Code Civ. Proc., § 337.5), because a provision of the former
act stated that a foreign-country judgment was “enforceable in the same manner as
the judgment of a sister state” (id., former § 1713.3). Manco also argued, in the
alternative, that no statute of limitations applied. Finally, Manco argued that it
was seeking recognition of the appellate court’s judgment, which had superseded
the trial court’s judgment, and that the action on the appellate court’s judgment,
having been brought less than four years after it was rendered, was timely under
any potentially applicable limitations period. The parties each submitted an
expert’s declaration describing various aspects of Qatari law. The trial court
2

agreed with Bezdikian that the action was time barred, and it granted summary
judgment for Bezdikian. Manco appealed.
The Court of Appeal reversed, concluding that the statute of limitations did
not begin to run if, under Qatari law, the trial court’s judgment was not final while
on appeal, and that the expert declarations had raised a triable issue of fact on that
point. The Court of Appeal declined to decide whether the limitations period was
four years or 10 years.
II
In 1962, the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State
Laws (Commissioners) promulgated the Uniform Foreign Money-Judgments
Recognition Act (1962 Uniform Act). They explained that because many foreign
countries’ courts applied a rule of reciprocity, codification of state rules on
recognizing and enforcing foreign country judgments would increase the chances
that those foreign courts would recognize and enforce our state court judgments.
In 1967, California adopted the 1962 Uniform Act as Code of Civil Procedure
sections 1713 to 1713.8. (Stats. 1967, ch. 503, § 1, p. 1847.) One of the
provisions at issue here, former section 1713.2 of the Code of Civil Procedure (see
§ 2 of the 1962 Uniform Act), stated: “This chapter applies to any foreign
judgment that is final and conclusive and enforceable where rendered even though
an appeal therefrom is pending or it is subject to appeal.” (Italics added.) The
first question to be decided is the meaning of the term “final” in this provision.
Under California law, the word “final” has various meanings as applied to a
judgment. (See generally 7 Witkin, Cal. Procedure (5th ed. 2008) Judgment, § 7,
pp. 551-552 [listing various meanings of “final judgment”].) In one sense, all
California state court judgments are final because finality is part of the definition
of a judgment. (See Code Civ. Proc., § 577 [“A judgment is the final
determination of the rights of the parties in an action or proceeding.”].) In another
3

sense, no California judgment is ever final because a judgment can always be
modified or revised to correct clerical error or set aside for extrinsic fraud or for
lack of subject matter jurisdiction. (See Olivera v. Grace (1942) 19 Cal.2d 570,
573-576.) As applied to judgments, a common understanding of the term “final”
is “not subject to being changed or set aside to correct ordinary error of fact or
law, or for abuse of discretion.” Even under that definition, however, there
remains an ambiguity because a judgment may be final as to the trial court (once
the trial court has lost jurisdiction to grant a new trial, a judgment notwithstanding
the verdict, or a statutory motion to vacate) but not as to the appellate courts, and a
Court of Appeal decision may be final as to that court but not as to the California
Supreme Court (see Cal. Rules of Court, rules 8.264(b), 8.512(b)-(c)).
The term “final” in former section 1713.2 of the Code of Civil Procedure
might have any of these meanings, or perhaps another meaning altogether, but like
all statutory terms it must have some definite meaning. The majority appears to
conclude, however, that the term “final” in former section 1713.2 has no single
fixed meaning but instead, chameleon-like, it takes on whatever meaning the term
has in the law of the foreign country where the judgment to be enforced was
rendered. I do not understand how this can be so.
If the foreign jurisdiction’s laws are similar to California’s, the term
“final,” as applied to a judgment or decision, will be ambiguous, carrying multiple
possible meanings. How is a court in California to determine which of these
meanings to apply? The problem is even more intractable when, as here, the
foreign jurisdiction’s law is written in a language other than English. (The official
language of Qatar is Arabic.) Before an expert can determine whether the foreign-
country judgment is “final” within the meaning of former section 1713.2 of the
Code of Civil Procedure, the term “final” must be translated into the foreign
4

language, and this can be done only if the term is first given a single, unambiguous
meaning.
Here, both parties submitted declarations from experts on the law of Qatar.
Defendant Bezdikian’s expert properly refrained from characterizing the Qatari
trial court judgment at issue as final or not final. Instead, he explained that the
judgment of the Grand Civil Court of Qatar in favor of plaintiff Manco and against
Bezdikian was dated November 16, 1997, that it “conclusively adjudicated the
rights of both parties in the matters pending before the Grand Civil Court,” that it
was immediately enforceable, that it could be and was appealed to the court of
appeal in Qatar, that the appeal did not revoke or stay the judgment, and that after
the appeal was taken Manco remained free to initiate enforcement proceedings,
although the court of appeal had discretion to grant an application by Bezdikian to
stay enforcement.
Manco’s expert, in his declaration, did not take issue with this description
of Qatari law and the status of the judgment against Bezdikian rendered by the
Grand Civil Court of Qatar. Manco’s expert, however, gave his opinion that “as a
matter of Qatari law, the trial court judgment in this matter was not final, nor was
any judgment final until the [Qatari] Court of Appeal entered its judgment on May
23, 2000.” He further explained that “unless made final by agreement or statute, a
judgment under Qatari law by definition becomes final only when the time for
appeal has expired or the Court of Appeal has entered its judgment.” (Underlining
in original.) Applying his understanding of finality under Qatari law, the expert
concluded that the Qatari judgment “did not become final until the [Qatari] Court
of Appeal entered its judgment on May 23, 2000.” He also stated that, under
Qatari law, when the Qatari Court of Appeal has entered its judgment, “the
appellate judgment completely supersedes the trial court judgment.”
5

From a reading of this declaration, it is apparent that to Manco’s expert
“final” meant not subject to reversal, modification, or correction by any court for
ordinary errors of law or fact or for abuse of discretion, or something very close to
that definition. Manco’s expert does not explain how he arrived at that definition,
and his conclusion about the finality of the Qatari Grand Civil Court’s judgment
would no doubt be altered if he were to apply a substantially different definition of
finality.
No inquiry into Qatari law can ever determine the meaning of “final” in
former section 1713.2 of the Code of Civil Procedure (§ 2 of the 1962 Uniform
Act). Instead, the meaning of the California statute presents an issue of statutory
construction for California courts to resolve using California law.
A rather strong indication of what “final” means in former section 1713.2
of the Code of Civil Procedure (§ 2 of the 1962 Uniform Act) is the language of
that provision itself. It stated: “This statute applies to any foreign judgment that is
final and conclusive and enforceable where rendered even though an appeal
therefrom is pending or it is subject to appeal.” (Ibid., italics added.) By stating
that the pendency of an appeal does not preclude a determination of finality, the
language implies that the term “final” refers to finality in the trial court, and not to
finality as to appellate courts as well. This interpretation is reinforced by former
section 1713.6 of the Code of Civil Procedure (§ 6 of the 1962 Uniform Act),
which gave a California court the power to stay the recognition action pending the
outcome of an appeal in the foreign jurisdiction.
This definition of the word “final” is consistent with an official comment to
the Uniform Foreign-Country Money Judgments Recognition Act (the revised
act), which California adopted in 2007, effective January 1, 2008, as Code of Civil
6

Procedure sections 1713 to 1724, superseding the former act.1 (See Stats. 2007,
ch. 212, § 2.) The purpose of the revised act, according to a Commissioners’ note,
was “not to depart from the basic rules or approach of the 1962 Act, which have
withstood well the test of time, but rather to update the 1962 Act, to clarify its
provisions, and to correct problems created by the interpretation of the provisions
of that Act by the courts over the years since its promulgation.” (13 pt. II West’s
U. Laws Ann., U. Foreign-Country Money Judgments Recognition Act (2008
supp.) Prefatory Note, pp. 5-6.) Like section 2 of the 1962 Uniform Act (Code
Civ. Proc., former § 1713.2), section 3 of the revised act (Code Civ. Proc., § 1715,
subd. (a)(2)) requires that the foreign-country judgment be “final, conclusive, and
enforceable.” The official comment to section 3 states: “In order to come within
the scope of this Act, a foreign-country judgment must be final, conclusive, and
enforceable under the law of the foreign country in which it was rendered. This
requirement contains three distinct, although inter-related concepts. A judgment is
final when it is not subject to additional proceedings in the rendering court other
than execution. A judgment is conclusive when it is given effect between the
parties as a determination of their legal rights and obligations. A judgment is
enforceable when the legal procedures of the state to ensure that the judgment
debtor complies with the judgment are available to the judgment creditor to assist
in collection of the judgment.” (13 pt. II West’s U. Laws Ann., U. Foreign-
Country Money Judgments Recognition Act, supra, com. 3 to § 3, supp. at pp. 9-
10, italics added.)
In summary, the former act provided that an appeal from the foreign-
country judgment does not preclude a finding of finality, and it allowed the

1
The former act continues to apply to actions commenced before January 1,
2008. (Code Civ. Proc., § 1724.)
7



California court to stay the recognition action while that appeal is pending. Also,
the revised act’s official comment states that a judgment is final when it is not
subject to additional proceedings in the rendering court other than execution.
From these circumstances, I conclude that the term “final” in former section
1713.2 of the Code of Civil Procedure refers to finality in the foreign jurisdiction’s
rendering court (that is, ordinarily, the trial court) and means that the judgment is
not subject to additional proceedings other than execution in the foreign-country
court that rendered the judgment.
III
More than a century ago, in Dore v. Thornburgh (1891) 90 Cal. 64, this
court held that an action on a foreign-country judgment is governed by the four-
year “catch-all” limitations period of Code of Civil Procedure section 343, which
governs actions for which no other limitations period is specified. This court has
never overruled that holding, and the Legislature has abrogated it only as to
actions filed after January 1, 2008. I conclude that it remains controlling authority
on this point of law for actions filed before that date.
In reaching a different conclusion, the majority relies on former section
1713.3 of the Code of Civil Procedure (§ 3 of the 1962 Uniform Act), which, as
amended, provided: “Except as provided in Section 1713.4, a foreign judgment
meeting the requirements of Section 1713.2 is conclusive between the parties to
the extent that it grants or denies recovery of a sum of money. The foreign
judgment is enforceable in the same manner as the judgment of a sister state
which is entitled to full faith and credit, except that it may not be enforced
pursuant to the provisions of Chapter 1 (commencing with Section 1710.10) of
this title.” (As amended by Stats. 1974, ch. 211, § 5, p. 409, italics added.)
In their “Prefatory Note” to the 1962 Uniform Act, the Commissioners
stated: “The Act does not prescribe a uniform enforcement procedure. Instead,
8

the Act provides that a judgment entitled to recognition will be enforceable in the
same manner as the judgment of a court of a sister state which is entitled to full
faith and credit.” (13 pt. II West’s U. Laws Ann., U. Foreign Money Judgments
Recognition Act (2002) Prefatory Note, p. 41.) Accordingly, the provision on
which the majority relies was intended to specify what happens after the state
court recognizes the foreign-country judgment. It concerns the enforcement
mechanisms available to the judgment creditor, not the statute of limitations for
bringing the recognition action. An official comment to section 9 of the revised
act reinforces this point by stating that “[t]he 1962 Act did not contain a statute of
limitations.” (13 pt. II West’s U. Laws Ann., U. Foreign-Country Money
Judgments Recognition Act, supra, com. to § 9, supp. at p. 18.) Indeed, the
Commissioners recognized that one of “the more significant issues that have
arisen under the 1962 Act” was “the need to establish a statute of limitations for
recognition actions.” (Id., Prefatory Note, p. 6.) Under section 9 of the revised
act, which California has adopted for actions commenced after January 1, 2008, an
action on a foreign-country judgment must “be commenced within the earlier of
the time during which the foreign-country judgment is effective in the foreign
country or 10 years from the date that the foreign-country judgment became
effective in the foreign country.” (Code Civ. Proc., § 1721.)
Had the Legislature, when it adopted the former act, intended to abrogate
the four-year statute of limitations that this court established in Dore v.
Thornburgh, supra, 90 Cal. 64, it would have used equally plain language. It
might have said, for example, that the foreign judgment is enforceable “in the
same manner and within the same time” as a sister-state judgment. (See, e.g.,
Code Civ. Proc., § 597 [using similar language for appeals from interlocutory
judgments on special defenses].) Or the Legislature could have amended Code of
Civil Procedure section 337.5 to make its 10-year limitations period applicable to
9

actions on foreign judgments as well as to actions on sister-state judgments. It
took none of these actions.
I therefore conclude that until it enacted Code of Civil Procedure section
1721 in 2007, which codified the revised act’s statute of limitations, the
Legislature did not abrogate Dore v. Thornburgh, supra, 90 Cal. 64, under which
the four-year “catch-all” limitations period of Code of Civil Procedure section 343
applied to actions on foreign-country judgments, including those brought under
the former act.
IV
I now apply these conclusions about the former act to the facts before the
trial court when it ruled on Bezdikian’s motion for summary judgment. Manco’s
complaint sought enforcement of two foreign-country judgments: the judgment of
the Grand Civil Court of Qatar and the judgment of the Qatari Court of Appeal.
The judgment of the Grand Civil Court of Qatar for Manco and against
Bezdikian was final, conclusive, and enforceable, within the meaning of former
section 1713.2 of the Code of Civil Procedure, when it was rendered on November
16, 1997, and the statute of limitations for an action on that judgment in California
began to run on that date. The applicable statute of limitations at that time was the
“catch-all” four-year provision (Code Civil Proc., § 343), which expired in
November 2001, and Manco’s action, commenced thereafter in May 2004, was
barred by the statute of limitations insofar as it sought enforcement of the Qatari
Grand Civil Court’s judgment.
Manco appealed from the judgment of the Grand Civil Court of Qatar, and
the Qatari Court of Appeal issued its decision on that appeal on May 23, 2000.
According to the declaration of Manco’s expert on Qatari law, the Qatari Court of
Appeal’s decision took the form of a judgment that completely superseded the
judgment of the Grand Civil Court. If the Qatari Court of Appeal’s decision is
10

properly regarded as a new, separate, and enforceable judgment, its rendition
commenced a new four-year limitations period, and Manco’s California action,
filed on May 20, 2004, was timely under the former act as an action on that
judgment. On this basis, I agree with the majority that the matter should be
remanded to the trial court for further proceedings.
KENNARD,
J.
11

See next page for addresses and telephone numbers for counsel who argued in Supreme Court.

Name of Opinion Manco Contracting Co. (W.L.L.) v. Bezdikian
__________________________________________________________________________________

Unpublished Opinion


Original Appeal
Original Proceeding
Review Granted
XXX 151 Cal.App.4th 749
Rehearing Granted

__________________________________________________________________________________

Opinion No.

S154076
Date Filed: November 17, 2008
__________________________________________________________________________________

Court:

Superior
County: Los Angeles
Judge: John Segal

__________________________________________________________________________________

Attorneys for Appellant:

Benedon & Serlin, Gerald M. Serlin and Douglas G. Benedon for Plaintiff and Appellant.

Engstrom, Lipscomb & Lack, Walter L. Lack and Steven C. Shuman for Renato Guimaraes, Jr., as Amicus
Curiae on behalf of Plaintiff and Appellant.

__________________________________________________________________________________

Attorneys for Respondent:

Revere & Wallace, Frank Revere, Gabriel S. Dermer; Roxborough, Pomerance & Nye, Gary A. Nye and
Michael G. Kline for Defendant and Respondent.

Allen Matkins Leck Gamble Mallory & Natsis, A. Kristine Floyd and Robert C. Shaia for Northrop
Grumman Corporation as Amicus Curiae on behalf of Defendant and Respondent.



Counsel who argued in Supreme Court (not intended for publication with opinion):

Gerald M. Serlin
Benedon & Serlin
21700 Oxnard Street, Suite 1290
Woodland Hills, CA 91367
(818) 340-1950

Steven C. Shuman
Engstrom, Lipscomb & Lack
10100 Santa Monica Boulevard, Sixteenth Floor
Los Angeles, CA 90067-4107
(310) 552-3800

Frank Revere
Revere & Wallace
900 Wilshire Boulevard, Suite 1440
Los Angeles, CA 90017
(213) 239-9900

A. Kristine Floyd
Allen Matkins Leck Gamble Mallory & Natsis
1900 Main Street, Fifth Floor
Irvine, CA 92614-7321
(949) 553-1313


Petition for review after the Court of Appeal reversed the summary judgment in a civil action. This case presents the following issues: (1) Is a foreign money judgment final within the meaning of the Uniform Foreign Money-Judgments Recognition Act (Code of Civ. Pro, section 1713 et seq.), even though an appeal of the foreign judgment is pending and the law of the foreign jurisdiction provides that a judgment is not final there until the appeal has been resolved? (2) What statute of limitations applies to an action to enforce a foreign judgment?

Opinion Information
Date:Citation:Docket Number:Category:Status:Cross Referenced Cases:
Mon, 11/17/200845 Cal. 4th 192, 195 P.3d 604, 85 Cal. Rptr. 3d 233S154076Review - Civil Appealclosed; remittitur issued

GUIMARAES v. NORTHROP GRUMMAN (S158736)


Parties
1Bezdikian, Krikor (Defendant and Respondent)
Represented by Frank Revere
Revere & Wallace
900 Wilshire Boulevard, Suite 1440
Los Angeles, CA

2Bezdikian, Krikor (Defendant and Respondent)
Represented by Gabriel Seth Dermer
Revere & Wallace
900 Wilshire Boulevard, Suite 1440
Los Angeles, CA

3Manco Contracting Company (Plaintiff and Appellant)
Represented by Gerald M. Serlin
Benedon & Serlin
21700 Oxnard Street, Suite 1290
Woodland Hills, CA

4Manco Contracting Company (Plaintiff and Appellant)
Represented by Douglas G. Benedon
Benedon & Serlin
21700 Oxnard Street, Suite 1290
Woodland Hills, CA

5Northrop Grumman Corporation (Amicus curiae)
Represented by A. Kristine Floyd
Allen Matkins et al., LLP
1900 Main Street, 5th Floor
Irvine, CA

6Guimaraes, Renato (Amicus curiae)
Represented by Steven Craig Shuman
Engstrom Lipscomb & Lack
10100 Santa Monica Boulevard, 16th Floor
Los Angeles, CA


Disposition
Nov 17 2008Opinion: Affirmed with directions

Dockets
Jul 3 2007Petition for review filed
  Kirkor Bezdikian, Respondent by Gary A. Nye, counsel
Jul 5 2007Record requested
 
Jul 5 2007Received Court of Appeal record
  one doghouse
Jul 24 2007Answer to petition for review filed
  Manco Contracting Co., appellant Gerald M. Serlin, counsel (CRC 8.25b)
Aug 22 2007Petition for review granted (civil case)
  Votes: George, C.J., Kennard, Baxter, Werdegar, Chin, Moreno, and Corrigan, JJ.
Aug 22 2007Letter sent to:
  Counsel for both parties - Conflicts letter
Aug 31 2007Certification of interested entities or persons filed
  Manco Contracting Co., appellant Gerald M. Serlin, counsel
Sep 4 2007Certification of interested entities or persons filed
  Kirkor Bezdikian, respondent Gary A. Nye, counsel
Sep 6 2007Request for extension of time filed
  sixty days until Novermber 20, 2007, to file the respondent's opening brief on the merits Krikor Bezdikian, respondent Gary A. Nye, counsel
Sep 12 2007Extension of time granted
  On application of respondent and good cause appearing, it is ordered that the time to serve and file the respondent's opening brief on the merits is extended to and including November 20, 2007.
Oct 5 2007Notice of substitution of counsel
  Attorney Frank Revere in place of Gary A. Nye for Respondent Krikor Bezdikian
Nov 20 2007Opening brief on the merits filed
  Respondent Krikor Bezdikian Attorneys Frank Revere and Gabriel S. Dermer
Dec 14 2007Request for extension of time filed
  60-days until February 18, 2007, to serve and file the answer brief on the merits. Manco Contracting, Co., appellant Gerald M. Serlin, counsel
Jan 22 2008Change of contact information filed for:
  counsel for respondent Krikor Bezdikian Attorney Frank Revere
Feb 4 2008Extension of time granted
  On application of appellant and good cause appearing, it is ordered that the time to serve and file the appellant's answer brief on the merits is extended to and including February 18, 2008. No further extension is contemplated.
Feb 20 2008Answer brief on the merits filed
  Manco Contracting Co., appellant Gerald M. Serlin, counsel CRC 8.25b
Mar 11 2008Received application to file Amicus Curiae Brief
  Northrop Grumman Corporation, amicus curiae A. Kristine Floyd, counsel
Mar 11 2008Reply brief filed (case fully briefed)
  Respondent Krikor Bezdikian ~Attorneys Frank Revere and Gabriel S. Dermer
Mar 18 2008Amicus curiae brief filed
  The application of Northrop Grumman Corporation for permission to file an amicus curiae in support of respondent is hereby granted. An answer thereto may be served and filed by any party within twenty days of the filing of the brief.
Apr 7 2008Request for extension of time filed
  30-days to and including May 7, 2008, to serve and file an answer to Northrop Grumman Corporation's amicus curiae brief Manco Contracting Co., appellant Gerald M. Serlin, counsel
Apr 10 2008Received application to file Amicus Curiae Brief
  Renato Guimaraes, Jr. [in support of aplt] ~Attorney Steven C. Shuman
Apr 10 2008Extension of time granted
  On application of appellant and good cause appearing, it is ordered that the time to serve and file the appellant's response to amicus curiae is extended to and including May 7, 2008.
Apr 30 2008Amicus curiae brief filed
  The application of Renato Guimaraes, Jr. for permission to file an amicus curiae brief in support of appellant is hereby granted. An answer thereto may be served and filed by any party within twenty days of the filing of the brief.
May 9 2008Request for extension of time filed
  30-days until June 7, 2008, to serve and file an answer to the amicus curiae brief filed by Northrop Grumman Corp Manco Contracting Co., appellant Gerald M. Serlin, counsel
May 13 2008Extension of time granted
  On application of appellant and good cause appearing, it is ordered that the time to serve and file appellant's answer to the amicus curiae brief filed by Northrop Grumman in support of respondent is extended to and including June 7, 2008.
May 19 2008Response to amicus curiae brief filed
  to AC brief of Renato Guimaraes, Jr. by Respondent Krikor Bezdikian ~Attorney Frank Revere
Jun 9 2008Request for extension of time filed
  7-days, until June 16, 2008, to serve and file a response to the amicus curiae brief filed in support of respondent Krikor Bezdikian Manco Contracting Co., appellant Gerald M. Serlin, counsel
Jun 11 2008Extension of time granted
  On application of appellant and good cause appearing, it is ordered that the time to serve and file appellant's response to the amicus curiae brief is extended to and including June 16, 2008. No further extension is contemplated.
Jun 17 2008Response to amicus curiae brief filed
  Manco Contracting Co., appellant Gerald M. Serlin, counsel CRC 8.25b
Jul 30 2008Case ordered on calendar
  to be argued Tuesday, September 2, 2008, at 1:30 p.m., in San Francisco
Aug 13 2008Filed:
  joint application of respondent, Bezdikian , along with amicus curiae, Northrop Gruman, to divide oral argument time. by counsel, Frank Revere and A. Kristine Floyd.
Aug 14 2008Filed:
  Request of Appellant, Manco, to donate 10 minutes of oral argument time to Amicus Curiae, Guimareas. by counsel, Gerald M. Serlin. appearance sheet also filed.
Aug 20 2008Order filed
  The request of counsel for appellant in the above-referenced cause to allow two counsel to argue on behalf of appellant at oral argument is hereby granted. The request of appellant to allocate to amicus curiae Guimaraes 10 minutes of appellant's 30-minute allotted time for oral argument is granted.
Aug 20 2008Order filed
  The request of counsel for respondent in the above-referenced cause to allow two counsel to argue on behalf of respondent at oral argument is hereby granted. The request of respondent to allocate to amicus curiae Northrop Grumman Corporation 10 minutes of respondent's 30-minute allotted time for oral argument is granted.
Sep 2 2008Cause argued and submitted
 
Nov 14 2008Notice of forthcoming opinion posted
 
Nov 17 2008Opinion filed: Affirmed in full with directions
  The judgment of the Court of Appeal is affirmed, and the case is remanded for further proceedings in the trial court. Majority Opinion by Corrigan, J. joined by George C. J., Baxter, Werdegar, Chin and Moreno, JJ. C & D Opinion by Kennard, J.
Dec 22 2008Remittitur issued (civil case)
 
Dec 29 2008Received:
  Acknowledgment of receipt for remittitur from Second District, Division 8.

Briefs
Nov 20 2007Opening brief on the merits filed
 
Feb 20 2008Answer brief on the merits filed
 
Mar 11 2008Reply brief filed (case fully briefed)
 
Mar 18 2008Amicus curiae brief filed
 
Apr 30 2008Amicus curiae brief filed
 
May 19 2008Response to amicus curiae brief filed
 
Jun 17 2008Response to amicus curiae brief filed
 
If you'd like to submit a brief document to be included for this opinion, please submit an e-mail to the SCOCAL website
Jan 9, 2009
Annotated by admin.ah

Written by Anna Greene

Background to the case:
On November 16, 1997 the Qatari Company Manco Contracting (Manco) obtained a multi-million dollar judgment against Krikor Bezdikan in the Grand Civil Court of Doha, Qatar. Bezdikan appealed the judgment but then left the country. He now resides in California. On May 23, 2000 a Qatari appellate court amended the prior judgment reducing the award from more than $4.2 million to approximately $3.76 million. The Qatari appellate court awarded Manco this new amount plus a “reasonable share of court expenses” and an amount for attorney fees. On May 20, 2004 Manco filed a complaint in Los Angeles County Superior Court seeking to domestic the Qatari case under the Uniform Foreign Money-Judgments Recognition Act (UFMJRA).
Bezdikan sought summary judgment, arguing that because the cause of action had accrued in 1997, it was barred by the four-year statute of limitations of Section 343. In response, Manco argued that under Qatari law a judgment is never final before conclusion of an appeal unless the parties explicitly agree to treat the judgment as final. Thus, Manco argued that the cause of action did not accrue until May 23, 2000.

Issue before the Court:
First, was the November 16, 1997 judgment “final” and thus causing the statute of limitations to enforce the limitations to begin to run? Second, what statute of limitations applies to an action to enforce a foreign judgment?

Summary of the case:
The Supreme Court held
1) Under the UFMJRA, a foreign document becomes subject to recognition in California once it becomes final, conclusive, and enforceable in the country where it was rendered.
2) Limitations period to domestic foreign judgments under UFJRMA is ten years after judgment becomes subject to recognition.

Procedural history:
The Superior Court, Los Angeles County, granted judgment debtor summary judgment, on the grounds that the four-year statute of limitations had run. The Court of Appeal, reversed and remanded. The Supreme Court granted review.