The Effect of the Taiwan Relations Act of 1979 On Res Judicata and Collateral Estoppel with Respect to Taiwanese and Third-Country Parties in United States Courts

Citation data:

Vol: 8, Issue: 4, Page: 553-580

Publication Year:
2009
Usage 65
Downloads 52
Abstract Views 13
Repository URL:
https://scholarship.richmond.edu/global/vol8/iss4/4
Author(s):
Devine, Michael Buxton
Tags:
Jimmy Carter; Taiwan Relations Act; TRA; WTO; World Trade Organization; People's Republic of China; Serano Limited; Canadian Imperial Bank; Confirmed Transactions; Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office; Comparative and Foreign Law; International Trade Law
article description
President Jimmy Carter terminated diplomatic relations be- tween the United States and the Republic of China (the ROC) or Taiwan on January 1, 1979, and Congress enacted the Taiwan Relations Act of 1979 (the TRA), effective on April 10, 1979, in order to replace the former diplomatic relations. The question then arose as to whether United States courts must recognize and enforce judgments of Taiwanese courts with respect to third-country plaintiffs who have prevailed over Taiwanese defendants. If so, then such third-country plaintiffs would be able to rely on the principles of res judicata and collateral estoppel in United States courts. If not, then losing Taiwanese defendants in judgments of Taiwanese courts may reliti- gate and retry cases against winning third-country plaintiffs in judg- ments of Taiwanese courts in United States courts.An obscure New York state court case, Serano Ltd. v. Cana- dian Imperial Bank of Commerce, 287 A.D.2d 309, 731 N.Y.S.2d 25, 2001 N.Y. App. Div. (2001) (Serano),was a case of first impression to consider this question. The courts never ruled on this question, how- ever, as the case was dismissed based on the theory of forum non conveniens.This article will attempt to resolve this question by analyzing Serano and the provisions of the TRA. This article concludes that, based on the provisions of the TRA, losing defendants in judgments of Taiwanese courts may relitigate and retry cases against winning third-country plaintiffs in judgments of Taiwanese courts in United States courts. This is contrary to the principles of res judicata and collateral estoppel as ordinarily applied in United States courts. A chart is provided in this article which summarizes when United States courts will recognize and enforce judgments from courts on Taiwan and apply the principles of resjudicata and collateral estoppel as between: (1) Taiwanese natural and legal persons versus Taiwanese natural and legal persons; (2) Taiwanese natural and legal persons versus United States natural and legal persons; (3) Taiwanese natural and legal persons versus Third-Country natural and legal persons; (4) United States natural and legal persons versus Third-Country natural and legal persons; (5) Third-Country natural and legal persons versus Third-Country natural and legal persons; and (6) United States natural and legal persons versus United States natural and legal persons.