De Fontbrune v. Wofsy, 14-15790

In an action seeking to protect plaintiff’s copyright in photographs of Pablo Picasso’s artworks, and to enforce a French judgment of two million euros in astreinte in federal court against defendant-American art editor under the California Uniform Foreign-Court Monetary Judgment Recognition Act, the District Court’s Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6) dismissal is reversed where: 1) Fed. R. Civ. P. 44.1 authorizes district courts to consider foreign legal materials — including expert testimony and declarations — outside the pleadings in rulings on a motion to dismiss because Rule 44.1 treats foreign law determinations as questions of law, not fact; and 2) the district court erred in concluding that the award of an astreinte in this case constituted a ‘fine or other penalty’ for the purposes of California’s Uniform Recognition Act.

Appellate Information

  • Argued
  • Submitted
  • Decided
  • Published 2016/09/26



  • United States Ninth Circuit


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