It May Not Be Too Late to Enforce Your Out of state Judgment in North Carolina
We assist people with the post-judgment collection process on a judgment that was rendered by another state. We do this by domesticating that out of state judgment in the State of North Carolina. Some reasons to consider domesticating a judgment in the State of North Carolina include that the judgment debtor(s) reside or are located in North Carolina, and/or the judgment debtor(s) owns property in North Carolina. This process is typically straightforward and relatively routine. Once this process is complete, North Carolina recognizes that judgment as if it were rendered in this state. This means the creditor may use any means allowed by North Carolina statutes to pursue judgment debtor(s) in post-judgment collections. However, if a significant amount of time has passed since the judgment was issued, the creditor’s ability to enforce its judgment may be affected.
Each state has its own statute of limitations period, which for judgments is typically anywhere between five and twenty years, though there are a few outliers. The statute of limitations for the State of North Carolina. However, like many other states, North Carolina allows creditors to extend the life of their judgment by bringing an action upon the judgment to obtain a new judgment. This new judgment allows the creditor to pursue that judgment for another ten years. Creditors in North Carolina may file a new action and receive a new judgment one time.
North Carolina Gen. Stat. § 1-47 requires any judgment from any court within the United States to be brought within ten years from the date of its entry. The creditor may have held off on domesticating its judgment for years for a variety of reasons. Let’s say that the creditor’s judgment is over fifteen years old. Does this mean that the creditor is barred from domesticating its judgment in the state of North Carolina and pursuing the judgment debtor or property located in North Carolina? Not necessarily.
While the statute does require that the judgment be domesticated in this state within ten years from the date of its entry, the date of the entry is the most recent date that a judgment was issued. This is important to consider when attempting to domesticate judgments from states with longer statute of limitations periods for judgments than North Carolina, such as Florida. Florida has a statute of limitations of twenty years for judgments.
This very discrepancy was addressed in Palm Coast Recovery Corp. v. Moore, 646 S.E.2d 438, 184 N.C. App. 550 (N.C. Ct. App. 2007). In that case, Palm Coast Recovery Corp. (“Palm Coast”) had received a judgment against Neil R. Moore and Darlene W. Moore (“Defendants”) in 1990 in Florida. Palm Coast renewed the judgment by filing a new action upon the 1990 judgment and obtained a new judgment in Florida in 2005. Palm Coast began the process of domesticating its judgment in North Carolina in 2006. The Court of Appeals found that the statute of limitations pursuant to North Carolina Gen. Stat. § 1-47 started from the latest entry of judgment, which was 2005. This meant the North Carolina statute of limitations for judgments had not lapsed in this case, and thus, Palm Coast could register its judgment against the Defendants in North Carolina and pursue post-judgment collections against them in this state.
It is always wise to contact an attorney if you have concerns regarding judgment enforcement matters. We can assist creditors with determining if their judgments are enforceable in North Carolina. The attorneys at Vann Attorneys, PLLC would be happy to discuss the process of domesticating a foreign judgment as well as post-judgment remedies available under North Carolina law.