Submitted: July 17, 2014
Josiah R. Wolcott, Esquire, Connolly Gallagher, LLP, Newark, Delaware for Plaintiff.
Patrick Scanlon, Esquire, Law Offices of Patrick Scanlon, P.A., Milford, Delaware for Defendant. Young, J.
Robert B. Young J.
Troy Windham ("Defendant") moves for an order dismissing Doctor's Associates, Inc.'s ("Plaintiff") Complaint in an action against Defendant, seeking enforcement of a foreign judgment under Chapter 47 of Title 10. In the Motion to Dismiss, Defendant contends that the foreign judgment has never been properly filed in accordance with 10 Del. Code § 4783, which provides that a foreign judgment cannot be enforced until twenty days after the judgment has been filed. However, Plaintiff's Complaint does not seek enforcement immediately. Rather, Plaintiff's Complaint merely requests the Court to allow recognition of the judgment, so that it may later be enforced under the statute.
Several legal principles demonstrate that the judgment can be domesticated, and eventually enforced against Defendant, in Delaware. Therefore, the judgment is entitled to full faith and credit, such that it may be domesticated in Delaware. Once Plaintiff properly files the judgment, Plaintiff will have the chance to comply with the notice requirements of 10 Del. Code § 4783. Defendant's Motion to Dismiss is DENIED.
FACTS AND PROCEDURE
Plaintiff is a Florida corporation that holds all franchise rights for all Subway restaurants in the United States. Defendant is a Delaware resident with a home in Dover, Delaware. On January 25, 2005, Plaintiff and Defendant executed a Franchise Agreement for a Subway restaurant in Dover, Delaware. Thereafter, Defendant allegedly breached several provisions of the Franchise Agreement, specifically Defendant's obligation to operate the franchise in accordance with the Subway Operations Manual. Consequently, Plaintiff submitted Defendant to arbitration.
In connection with the arbitration, Defendant entered into an Arbitration Interim Order on September 2, 2009 (the "Interim Order"). In the Interim Order, Defendant admitted that he breached the Franchise Agreement. To this date, Defendant has yet to cure the breaches, remaining in default of the Interim Order. The instant action is part of the enforcement of the Interim Order, for which Subway is entitled to attorney's fees.
On January 3, 2012, an arbitrator ruled in Plaintiff's favor. The arbitrator also terminated the Franchise Agreement, and awarded Plaintiff certain monetary awards based on Defendant's breach. On January 3, 2012, the Superior Court of Connecticut in the Judicial District of Ansonia-Milford confirmed Plaintiff's arbitration award against Defendant ("the Judgment"). Afterward, Defendant appealed the Judgment. On November 26, 2013, the Appellate Court of Connecticut affirmed the Judgment confirming the underlying arbitration award.
Count I of the Complaint alleges that the Judgment is a final judgment confirming Plaintiff's arbitration award against Defendant; therefore, the Judgment is entitled to full faith and credit in the State of Delaware. The Complaint alleges that nothing in 10 Del. Code § 4780, et. seq requires that a judgment to be domesticated in Delaware must first be a monetary judgment, and that the Judgment is capable of being liquidated to a monetary value. Plaintiff alleges that it is entitled to register or domesticate the Judgment with the Prothonotary of this Court, and is also entitled to enforce or execute on that Judgment in Delaware. Finally, in the Complaint, Plaintiff requests that, if the Court orders such registration, that it be entitled to hold an inquisition hearing to liquidate the Judgment to monetary value.
On June 27, 2014, Defendant filed the instant Motion to Dismiss. On July 17, 2014, Plaintiff filed a Response to ...