Friday, November 3, 2017

Case of the Day: Seah v. Rocky Point Int'l LLC, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 143963 (E.D. Wis. Sept. 6, 2017)


Plaintiff is an administrator of a bankrupt Singaporean entity. Plaintiff alleged that the former director of the Singaporean entity, who was a Norwegian national, fraudulently transferred to himself a loan made to the bankrupt entity. The defendant is an entity that the former director has the sole control. Allegedly, with the money fraudulently transferred, the defendant spent approximately $2 million in renovating a lake house in Wisconsin. In a parallel action alleging fraudulent transfers before a Singaporean court, the court there held there was insufficient evidence for a fraud, but awarded $8 million to the administrators based on the former director's breach of duty.

Both plaintiff and defendant filed cross-motions for summary judgment. The court denied both. The court found that, although the plaintiff's protestation that the purported transfers to the defendant were all a sham, they were issues of fact to be determined at trial. The court also found the Singaporean court judgment did not have preclusive effect on the U.S. action.


The court's deadpan to begin the opinion is priceless: "This case is animated by both a Wisconsin lake house and an oil rig located in the Indian Ocean." (The loan made to the Singaporean company was intended for purchasing the oil rig.) But this is an excellent example of how U.S. courts wind up finding themselves mired in lawsuits from the distant land. Sooner or later, the money comes to America.

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