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NY Courts Can’t Enforce $91M Louisiana Judgment

ALBANY, N.Y. (CN) - The New York court system is not required to enforce a $91 million judgment against the Louisiana Department of Transportation for a poorly built bridge, because the judgment requires deference to Louisiana, a New York appeals court ruled.

In 1984 a group of class-action plaintiffs were awarded $91 million after the negligent construction of the Interstate 12 Bridge flooded the surrounding homes and properties.

They tried to recover part of this judgment in New York, seeking Louisiana-owned assets located in New York.

Judge Ciparick affirmed the appellate division's decision that New York should defer to Louisiana.

"In seeking to enforce the Louisiana judgment in New York," Ciparick wrote, "plaintiffs attempt to circumvent Louisiana's clear mandate that no judgment rendered against it shall be paid unless the Legislature appropriates funds."

The plaintiffs tried to use the Full Faith and Credit Clause of the Constitution to enforce the judgment, but Ciparick ruled that the clause actually requires the opposite effect: deference to Louisiana.

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