High court: Texas judgment enforceable against Guam Shipyard

HIGH COURT: Supreme Court of Guam Chief Justice Katherine Maraman delivers her State of the Judiciary address in the Guam Congress Building in Hagåtña on April 30. On Friday, Maraman and two justices ruled in favor of enforcing a Texas court's decision against the Guam Shipyard. Post file photo

The long arm of a court decision reaches Guam from Texas even after a Guam business argued it shouldn’t.

The Supreme Court of Guam, in a decision issued Friday, ruled against the Guam Shipyard, which tried to argue that a court decision in Texas isn’t enforceable on Guam.

Dresser-Rand Company, which is part of Siemens Power and Gas, sued the Guam Shipyard in Texas. A court judgment confirmed an arbitration award in favor of Dresser-Rand. After the Texas judgment was issued, the company asked the Superior Court of Guam for an order to enforce the judgment on Guam. However, the Guam Shipyard had asserted, among other things, that the Texas trial court did not have “personal jurisdiction” over the Guam business.

The case stems from Dresser-Rand's services provided to Guam Shipyard in 2014 as part of a ship repair and overhaul. The Guam Shipyard sought repairs totaling almost $500,000. After Dresser-Rand completed the work, Guam Shipyard failed to pay, citing its financial difficulties, court records state.

Dresser-Rand filed a lawsuit on Guam in 2017.

Under the “full faith and credit" clause of the U.S. Enforcement of International Arbitration Awards, a judgment in one state is entitled to the same credit and effect in other states, the Guam Supreme Court ruled. "The full faith and credit clause expressly applies to Guam through the Organic Act and the Full Faith and Credit Act,” Guam’s high court stated. Chief Justice Katherine Maraman, Justice Philip Carbullido and Justice Robert Torres signed the ruling.

The Guam Shipyard was given the chance to assert its due-process right in the Texas proceeding, the Guam high court ruled.

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