Hunt v. BP Exploration Company (Libya) LTD. (“Hunt II”)

580 F. Supp. 304 (1984)

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Hunt v. BP Exploration Company (Libya) LTD. (“Hunt II”)

United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas
580 F. Supp. 304 (1984)

Facts

Nelson Bunker Hunt (plaintiff), an American citizen, and BP Exploration Company (Libya) LTD (BP) (defendant), an English company, litigated a dispute in England. While the dispute in England was pending in England, Hunt filed a diversity action in federal district court, seeking a declaratory judgment regarding the same dispute. BP filed a motion for summary judgment on Hunt’s claims. The court held that most of Hunt’s claims were barred, but that summary judgment in favor of BP could not be entered until the English appeal was resolved. Therefore, the court stayed the action until conclusion of the English case. Once the English case concluded, Hunt asked the district court to declare the English judgment against him unenforceable and that he was not indebted to BP, and to order BP to repay him the amount it collected from him under the English judgment, a total of $40,833,000, plus interest. BP renewed its motion for summary judgment. Hunt pointed to a recently enacted Texas law that required reciprocal recognition for the enforcement of foreign judgments. Hunt argued that England would not recognize American judgments in England, and therefore, there was a lack of required reciprocity. However, Hunt did not provide any evidentiary support for this argument, and BP provided an affidavit of a legal expert who attested to the fact that England would, in fact, recognize and enforce an American judgment. Hunt further argued that under the new Texas law, a foreign judgment need not be recognized if the proceeding in the foreign country was contrary to an agreement between the parties. Hunt argued that the agreement required the parties to submit the dispute to arbitration rather than pursue litigation. The agreement stated that if either party wished to submit a dispute to arbitration, that party must notify the other party in writing. The evidence showed that Hunt did not request arbitration during the course of the dispute with BP.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Fish, J.)

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