Defenses to the Filing of Foreign Judgments in North Carolina

January 28, 2013

The Full Faith and Credit Clause of the United States Constitution generally requires that one state recognize and enforce the civil judgments of another. North Carolina, like many states, has adopted the Uniform Enforcement of Foreign Judgments Act (N.C. Gen. Stat. §§ 1C-1701 to 1708). The statute creates a relatively efficient method of filing and enforcing judgments of other states in the North Carolina courts. This is particularly important when you have obtained a judgment in another state but the defendant’s most valuable assets are located here in North Carolina. If that’s the case, you need to have your judgment enforced here and should probably hire local counsel to assist in doing so. The Raleigh attorneys of Maginnis Law can assist in enforcing your judgment and can be reached at 919.526.0450 or 919.480.8526.

One of the questions that typically arises in enforcement of foreign judgment cases is “what defenses can a judgment debtor raise in the North Carolina case?” This issue was recently addressed by the North Carolina Court of Appeals in the case Docrx, Inc. v. EMI Services of NC, LLC. The Court held that the following was an exclusive list of defenses allowed to a judgment debtor when trying to prevent the enforceability of a foreign judgment: “(1) the judgment is based upon extrinsic fraud; (2) the judgment is void; or (3) the judgment has been satisfied, released, or discharged, or a prior judgment upon which it is based has been reversed or otherwise vacated, or it is no longer equitable that the judgment should have prospective application.”

The primary issue in Docrx was whether “intrinsic” fraud would suffice to set aside a foreign judgment and the Court said even this was not enough. The difference between intrinsic and extrinsic fraud is that intrinsic fraud involves misrepresentations in the foreign court proceeding itself. Extrinsic fraud refers to something that happened outside of the proceeding. The North Carolina Court of Appeals ultimately held that even if there was evidence of intrinsic fraud in ascertaining the foreign judgment, this would be insufficient to set aside the judgment.

The civil litigation lawyers of Maginnis Law handle a wide variety of civil matters and can help you in obtaining satisfaction of your foreign judgment. Our firm handles cases throughout North Carolina but focuses on the Triangle area, including Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill, Cary, Apex, Wake Forest, Garner, and the surrounding counties. To speak with attorney Edward Maginnis, call 919.526.0450 or send a confidential email inquiry using our contact page. The firm provides free consultations and is able to offer a variety of billing arrangements, including hourly, flat rate, contingency, and combinations thereof.

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