Midbrook Flowerbulbs Holland v. Holland America Bulb Farms

FOR PUBLICATION UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE NINTH CIRCUIT MIDBROOK FLOWERBULBS HOLLAND No. 14-36085 B.V., Plaintiff-Appellee, D.C. No. 3:14-cv-05409- v. RJB HOLLAND AMERICA BULB FARMS, INC., a Washington corporation, OPINION Defendant-Appellant. Appeal from the United States District Court for the Western District of Washington Robert J. Bryan, Senior District Judge, Presiding Argued and Submitted May 8, 2017 Seattle, Washington Filed October 25, 2017 Before: Carlos T. Bea and N. Randy Smith, Circuit Judges, and William Q. Hayes, * District Judge. Opinion by Judge Bea * The Honorable William Q. Hayes, United States District Judge for the Southern District of California, sitting by designation. 2 MIDBROOK FLOWERBULBS V. HOLLAND AM. BULB SUMMARY ** Uniform Foreign-Court Money Judgments Recognition Act The panel affirmed the district court’s order granting summary judgment in favor of Midbrook Flowerbulbs Holland B.V., and denying Holland America Bulb Farms, Inc.’s discovery request under Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(d), in Midbrook’s diversity action seeking recognition of an Amsterdam Court of Appeals judgment under Washington’s Uniform Foreign-Country Money Judgments Recognition Act (“UFCMJRA”). Holland America, a Washington company, purchased flower bulbs from Midbrook, a Dutch company, and Midbrook obtained a judgment against Holland America in Dutch court. On appeal, Holland America alleged that proceedings in the Dutch courts which led to the Dutch judgment were “not compatible with the requirements of due process of law” under section 4(c)(8) of the UFCMJRA. Concerning the legal standard governing the issue at hand, the panel held that the commentary and prefatory notice to the UFCMJRA demonstrated that under section 4(c)(8), courts need ask only whether the party resisting judgment “was denied fundamental fairness in the particular proceedings leading to the foreign-country judgment,” not whether the foreign proceedings literally conformed to the requirements of due process under the U.S. Constitution. ** This summary constitutes no part of the opinion of the court. It has been prepared by court staff for the convenience of the reader. MIDBROOK FLOWERBULBS V. HOLLAND AM. BULB 3 The panel held that it was not necessary to decide whether process accorded to Midbrook also passed muster under American standards of due process. The panel held that the Dutch courts’ treatment of Holland America’s discovery requests were a mere “procedural difference” that was insufficient to establish that the Dutch proceedings were fundamentally unfair. The panel further held that Holland America was not denied due process when the Amsterdam Court of Appeal overturned the Alkmaar District Court’s factual finding denying the existence of the parties’ alleged October 1999 settlement agreement because the Court of Appeal gave a good reason for overturning the finding. In addition, the panel held that Holland America failed to establish that even the more exacting standards of constitutional due process would have required a United States appellant court to defer to a trial court’s factual determination under like circumstances. Finally, the panel held that the district court did not abuse its discretion by denying Holland America’s motion for additional discovery under Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(d). COUNSEL ...

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