Video: Enforcement of Foreign Judgments

By James R. Vann
Attorney at Law

Approximate Transcript:

Hi, I'm James Vann. Welcome to this session of Vann Attorneys Video Legal Pad. And today we're going to be talking about enforcing foreign judgments. That's not talking about judgments from a foreign country, necessarily, but judgments made from one state that you need to have filed in another state. So, we get a lot of phone calls from clients that say, "I have a judgment against a debtor in one state, and now they have moved to North Carolina, can you help us collect that?" Thankfully, there's a uniform act called the Uniform Enforcement of Judgment Act. And basically what that means is most states have adopted that. And so that gives full faith and credit to the judgment from one state you can file it in another.

So let's say for example that you need to have a judgment against a debtor in one state, but now they have moved to North Carolina, or they have property in North Carolina that you want to try and use to collect on that judgment. Using the Uniform Enforcement of Foreign Judgments Act, we can file the original judgment from the first state or the original state and file it in North Carolina, and then start looking for assets that the debtor owns. It's quite easy; basically what you do is you get a certified copy of the judgment from the state of the initial filing (where you actually got the judgment). Once we get that certified copy we actually file a new lawsuit in North Carolina saying that this is the judgment and these are the terms. And really the only real things that the judgment debtors can do to defend that is to say maybe that personal jurisdiction was not proper; they didn't have good service of the summons and complaint. Or maybe there was personal jurisdiction or subject matter jurisdiction that was not proper.

The really great thing about this is we're not retrying the whole terms again. We're only taking the judgment from one state filing it in North Carolina. Once that's done, we serve the new lawsuit on defendant. Once they get it, they have 30 days to respond to it and after that, the court will then issue the judgment in North Carolina. At that point, we're off to the races just like we always are in trying to find the assets to satisfy that judgment. Again, this is not really a very difficult process. You do have to have some knowledge and experience about how to make it work, but it is certainly doable.

If you have any questions, we hope you'll give us a call to help you to enforce your foreign judgment. Thanks so much.

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