Holland & Knight Defeats Default Judgment, Then Avoids Liability for Dominican Republic
Partners Gregory Baldwin, Eduardo Ramos and Ilene Pabian succeeded in reversing a $50 million default judgment for the Dominican Republic and argued for the country to avoid any liability by finding that the government did not terminate the contract in question. The Dominican Republic and its water resource agency, Instituto Nacional de Recursos Hidraulicos (INDRHI), were sued by Sun Land & RGITC LLC and Architectural Ingenieria Siglo XXI LLC (AIS) for breach of contract in 2013.
Ms. Pabian argued that the default judgment was excusable neglect as no government officials in a managerial capacity at the company knew about the case which would account for their failure to respond. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit agreed and overturned the judgment. Mr. Baldwin and Mr. Ramos argued that there was no governmental breach as the Dominican Republic does not control the INDRHI meaning the government is not responsible for claims against the agency.
In conclusion, U.S. District Judge K. Michael Moore ruled that the Dominican Republic and INDRHI are separate legal entities and cleared the government of all liability in this case.
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