final until disposition of timely filed motion for rehearing.
Appeal from the Circuit Court for Miami-Dade County, Lower
Tribunal No. 13-34723, Rosa I. Rodriguez, Judge.
M. Aresty (Tierra Verde), for appellant.
Attorneys at Law and Oscar A. Gomez, for appellee.
ROTHENBERG, C.J., and SALTER and FERNANDEZ, JJ.
Vuillermin, a/k/a "Andre Martin, " a/k/a "John
A. Smith, " appeals two orders granting recognition and
enforcement of a foreign (French) money judgment against him
pursuant to Florida's Uniform Out-of-country Foreign
Money-Judgment Act, " sections 55.601-.607, Florida
Statutes (2017) (the "Act"). The creditor seeking
recognition and enforcement of the French judgment against
Vuillermin is the appellee, Mitsubishi Electric Europe B.V.
a French citizen, was charged with, and convicted of,
multiple counts of criminal fraud in France. The District
Court of Paris, France, found Vuillermin guilty of financial
crimes committed against Mitsubishi and other victims between
1995 and 1997 under the false name of "Andre
Martin." As a corollary to the criminal charges, and as
permitted by the French procedural code, Mitsubishi sued
Vuillermin for civil damages based on the fraud. In the
criminal case, Vuillermin was sentenced to prison and
probation. He absconded after completing his prison term.
civil action, the French court entered a judgment against
Vuillermin in 2006, in the amount of 237, 438.11 Euros.
Mitsubishi then began garnishment proceedings in France.
Vuillermin objected to the garnishment solely on the grounds
that he was not given notice of the rendition of the 2006
judgment. Vuillermin did not assert lack of personal service.
The French court upheld the validity of the judgment and the
garnishment, finding that Vuillermin had fled the
jurisdiction to avoid prosecution and had not provided a
current, valid address for notice. Under French procedure,
this also supported the judgment without further personal
service. Vuillermin appealed the garnishment, but the French
court of appeals rejected his objections and affirmed the
2013, Mitsubishi began proceedings to domesticate the French
judgment in the Miami-Dade Circuit Court, filing the
affidavit and following the procedure specified in the Act.
Vuillermin objected and argued that he was not personally
served with process in France, making the French judgment
unenforceable. Mitsubishi's response to the objections
appended the documents in the French proceedings. The
objections were set for a hearing, at which Vuillermin's
attorney did not appear. Mitsubishi styled the next notice as
a non-evidentiary, show cause hearing. Vuillermin did not
object or serve a written request for an evidentiary hearing.
After the hearing, the Florida court denied Vuillermin's
motion for new trial and for rehearing. This appeal followed.
French judgment meets the criteria for recognition under
section 55.604 of the Act. Contrary to Vuillermin's
argument, the foreign judgment does not fall within any of
the limited and enumerated grounds for non-recognition
specified in section 55.605 of the Act. Vuillermin may not
avoid the foreign judgment based on lack of personal service;
he failed to raise the issue initially in the foreign court
of competent jurisdiction,  and the foreign court authorized
garnishment of the judgment in that jurisdiction despite his
(unsuccessful) appearance to object to such enforcement.
Moreover, a French judgment need not be refused recognition
because it was based on a default. See Chabert v.
Bacquie, 694 So.2d 805, 815 (Fla. 4th DCA 1997).
reference to his open and obvious residence in Florida does
not alter his status in France as a French national who
absconded from the jurisdiction. The record is devoid of any
proffer by Vuillermin of a pleading seeking to vacate the
French court's ...