Enforcement of Judgments: A Primer on Best Practices and Guidance for Identification and Recovery of Assets

November 17, 2016

LOS ANGELES – “A check is better than a judgment.” In Enforcement of Judgments: A Practitioner’s Guide to Recovery, published by ALM Media, Dennis S. Ellis, Katherine F. Murray, Adam M. Reich, and Nicholas J. Begakis provide a compelling case study of New World TMT Limited v. PrediWave Corporation, with practical guidance on best practices to enforce judgments when debtors hide their assets.

In New World TMT Limited v. PrediWave Corporation, the Paul Hastings team led by Dennis Ellis, global chair of the firm’s Complex Litigation group, won a $2.87 billion judgment against PrediWave Corporation and its chief executive officer, Jianping “Tony” Qu, for breach of contract and certain Article II sale of goods claims. To expose the fraudulent investment scheme by Qu and his companies, the Paul Hastings team instituted a strategy where it focused more on the sale of goods aspects of the case initially, as opposed to the clear fraud that had taken place in Qu’s management of New World’s investment in PrediWave. But securing the judgment was only the first step, followed by a global search for hidden assets.

The global search spanned from China to California, where Qu owned homes and cars; Boston, where Qu’s daughter was set to graduate from school; Japan, where Qu had real estate investments and his family and confidants took residence; and finally to Singapore, where New World obtained a Mareva Injunction against certain assets of Qu, his former wife, daughter, son, and two confidantes, all of whom who have helped him hide his assets. Across these global jurisdictions, the Paul Hastings team embarked on a thorough search to identify, trace, attach and recover assets from Qu, his family, and associates.

Of the $2.87 billion judgment achieved for New World, $2.2 billion consisted of punitive damages, attorneys’ fees, and prejudgment interest. After 10 years of work, Paul Hastings has recovered nearly two-thirds ($400 million) of the $600 million New World actually sought to recover, and the effort continues.

The book presents the New World enforcement proceedings as the preeminent case study in procedures, tactics, and strategies to enforce a judgment, and includes discussion of obtaining a judgment, writs of attachment and foreign equivalents, amending judgments, judgment debtor examinations, enforcing judgments both inside and outside of the United States, and asset investigations and associated ethical challenges.

“Early in my career, a paralegal commented that  ‘A check is better than a judgment,’ and there is no better application of that wise statement than our successful effort to recover $400 million and counting on behalf of New World TMT Limited,” said Dennis S. Ellis, global chair of Paul Hastings’ Complex Litigation group. “I hope that our case study in this book can serve as a guide for practitioners on how to bring their lawsuits to a place where they can obtain an enforceable judgment, and the best methods to track and locate hidden assets to collect within the confines of the law.”

At Paul Hastings, our purpose is clear — to help our clients and people navigate new paths to growth. With a strong presence throughout Asia, Europe, Latin America, and the U.S., Paul Hastings is recognized as one of the world’s most innovative global law firms.

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