January 31, 2001
LAWSUITS FOR INJURIES SUSTAINED IN FOREIGN COUNTRIES
By: George Coppolo, Chief Attorney
You asked whether people injured in a foreign country by a defective product made in Connecticut can: (1) sue the manufacturer in a Connecticut court, (2) bring a criminal action against it in Connecticut, and (3) enforce a judgment they secure against it in a foreign country in a Connecticut court?
People injured in a foreign country by a defective product made in Connecticut may sue the manufacturer in a Connecticut court. There is no requirement that a person filing a lawsuit be a Connecticut resident or a United States citizen. The presence of the manufacturer in Connecticut gives Connecticut's Superior jurisdiction to decide the case.
Individuals do not have the authority to bring a criminal action against someone in Connecticut. But Connecticut residents and nonresidents alike are free to bring any alleged criminal conduct to the attention of the police or prosecutors who have the authority to investigate if they believe the allegations warrant it. According to attorney Houston Putnam Lowery, an international law expert, some former British Crown nations such as India may still have laws allowing private individuals to initiate a criminal prosecution under certain circumstances.
An injured person who gets a money judgment in his native country against a Connecticut manufacturer can enforce that judgment in a Connecticut court under the Uniform Foreign Money-Judgment Recognition Act (CGS § 50a-30). The act requires Connecticut courts to recognize a money judgment granted in a foreign country if granting that judgment satisfies Connecticut standards of due process and other specific requirements. We have enclosed a summary of this act.