British Midland Airways, Ltd. v. International Travel Inc.

497 F.2d 869 (1974)

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British Midland Airways, Ltd. v. International Travel Inc.

United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
497 F.2d 869 (1974)

Facts

British Midland Airways Limited (BMA) (plaintiff), a United Kingdom corporation, and International Travel, Inc. (International) (defendant), a United States corporation, entered into a contract for charter flights from the United States and Canada to England. Under the contract, the parties agreed that English law controlled the contract and further agreed to submit any dispute to the England and Wales High Court of Justice Approximately a year later, BMA sued International for breach of contract in English court. BMA filed a motion for judgment pursuant to British Order 14, Rule 1(1), which was similar to summary judgment under United States law. The motion was granted, but the court gave International leave to pursue defense of its claims if it deposited with the court an amount equal to the damages stated in the complaint. Both parties appealed this order. BMA argued that its motion should have been conclusively granted, and that International should not have been given leave to defend itself. In turn, International argued that it should have been permitted to present its defense without having to make a deposit. The English appellate court reviewed the appeal, and it ordered that International make a deposit within one month and that if it failed to do so, final judgment would be entered for BMA. International did not file further appeal, nor did it make the deposit. The English court entered final judgment against International. Thereafter, BMA filed suit in the United States federal district court to enforce the English judgment. The district court determined that the English judgment was enforceable. International appealed, asserting that the English judgment should not be recognized under principles of comity. Among other things, International argued that the English court denied International due process by requiring a deposit to defend the lawsuit and entering default judgment when International declined to do so.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Burns, J.)

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