NCCOA: The Constitution Reins in the Uniform Enforcement of Foreign Judgments Act

NCCOA: The Constitution Reins in the Uniform Enforcement of Foreign Judgments Act

If you've been practicing law for more than a few years, you've undoubtedly been asked to "domesticate" in North Carolina's courts a judgment entered in another state. A pretty easy task you think, covered by North Carolina's adoption of the Uniform Enforcement of Foreign Judgments Act, N.C. Gen. Stat. Sec. 1C-1701 to -1708.

Let's say that the lawyer defending against the domestication tells you that the out-of-state judgment was obtained based on "intrinsic fraud, misrepresentation, and misconduct."  Those would probably be grounds for setting aside a North Carolina judgment under Rule 60(b) of the North Carolina Rules of Civil Procedure.  Can the foreign judgment be enforced in North Carolina under the Uniform Act?

Those of you who are particularly sharp are wondering about the constitutional principle of Full Faith and Credit.  Article IV, Section 1 of the Constitution says that "Full Faith and Credit shall be given in each State to the public Acts, Records, and judicial Proceedings of every other State."  Not surprisingly, there is a good bit of judicial discussion of the interplay between the Uniform Act and the Constitution, with the most recent comment this week from the North Carolina Court of Appeals, in DOCRX, Inc. v. EMI Services of NC, LLC.

DOCRX was on the receiving end of a judgment in Mobile County, Alabama, of nearly half a million dollars.  When EMI sought to have its Alabama judgment enforced in North Carolina, DOCRX argued per NCRCP 60(b) that the judgment  could not be enforced because it was obtained on the basis of intrinsic fraud.  

Read this article in its entirety on North Carolina Business Litigation Report, a blog for lawyers focusing on issues of North Carolina business law and the day-to-day practice of business litigation in North Carolina courts.

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