Adam v. Saenger

303 U.S. 59 (1938)

 

RULE:

By 28 U.S.C.S. § 687, enacted under authority of the full faith and credit clause, U.S. Const. art. IV, § 1, the duly attested record of the judgment of a state is entitled to such faith and credit in every court within the United States as it has by law or usage in the state from which it is taken. If it appears on its face to be a record of a court of general jurisdiction, such jurisdiction over the cause and the parties is to be presumed unless disproved by extrinsic evidence, or by the record itself.

FACTS:

Petitioner, as assignee of a California judgment against the Beaumont Export & Import Company, a Texas corporation, brought the present suit in the Texas state district court against respondents, directors of the corporation acting as its trustees in dissolution, and against its stockholders as transferees of corporate assets, to collect the judgment. The assignee's predecessor in the California case filed a cross-claim against the corporation in the corporation's action for a money judgment. The cross-claim was served upon the corporation's attorney, which was accepted practice in California, and judgment was taken on the cross-action by default. The Court of Civil Appeals for the Ninth Supreme Judicial District of Texas dismissed the action. The assignee claimed that because he had a valid California judgment against the corporation, the Full Faith and Credit protections applied.

ISSUE:

Whether the action of the Texas state courts, in dismissing a suit founded upon a judgment of the superior court of California, denied to the judgment the faith and credit which the Constitution commands?

ANSWER:

Yes.

CONCLUSION:

The court said that the judgment of California was entitled to such faith and credit in every court within the United States. It said that if the judgment was from a court of general jurisdiction, jurisdiction over the parties was to be presumed unless disproved by extrinsic evidence, or by the record itself. The court also said that the California court had jurisdiction under California law because it was California law, not Texas law, which determined whether process was properly served. Under California law, service of process was properly served upon the corporation's attorney, not the party. Reversed and remanded.

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