law-foreign-judgments | domestication of foreign judgments |
The Full Faith and Credit Clause of the United States Constitution states that full faith and credit shall be
given in each state to the judicial proceedings of every other state. Thus, Chapter 35 applies to court
decisions from other states, not other countries. See, e.g., Schacht v. Schacht, 435 S.W.2d 197, 202 (Tex.
Civ. App.CDallas 1968, no writ) (stating that full faith and credit did not apply to require that Texas court
recognize Mexican divorce decree).
Under the United States Constitution, each state must give full faith and credit to the public acts, records,
and judicial proceedings of every other state. See U.S. Const. art. IV, § 1. To comply with the
full-faith-and-credit principle, Texas has implemented its version of the UEFJA. See generally Tex. Civ.
Prac. & Rem. Code Ann. §§ 35.001-.008 (Vernon 1997 & Supp.2007). Section 35.003 of the Texas UEFJA
governs the filing and status of foreign judgments as follows:
(a) A copy of a foreign judgment authenticated in accordance with an act of congress or a statute of this
state may be filed in the office of the clerk of any court of competent jurisdiction of this state.
(b) The clerk shall treat the foreign judgment in the same manner as a judgment of the court in which the
foreign judgment is filed.
(c) A filed foreign judgment has the same effect and is subject to the same procedures, defenses, and
proceedings for reopening, vacating, staying, enforcing, or satisfying a judgment as a judgment of the
court in which it is filed.
Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem.Code Ann. § 35.003.
Under the UEFJA, filing a foreign judgment in a Texas court instantly creates an enforceable, final Texas
judgment. See Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem.Code Ann. § 35.003(b), (c); Walnut Equip. Leasing Co., Inc. v. Wu,
920 S.W.2d 285, 286 (Tex.1996); Urso v. Lyon Fin. Servs., Inc., 93 S.W.3d 276, 277, 279
(Tex.App.-Houston [14th Dist.] 2002, no pet.); Bahr v. Kohr, 928 S.W.2d 98, 100 (Tex.App.-San Antonio
1996, writ denied). The burden then shifts to the debtor to prove the foreign judgment should not be given
full faith and credit. Mindis Metals, Inc. v. Oilfield Motor & Control, Inc., 132 S.W.3d 477, 484
(Tex.App.-Houston [14th Dist.] 2004, pet. denied); Reading & Bates Constr. Co. v. Baker Energy Res.
Corp., 976 S.W.2d 702, 712 (Tex.App.-Houston [1st Dist.] 1998, pet. denied); Markham v. 723*723
Diversified Land & Exploration Co., 973 S.W.2d 437, 439 (Tex.App.-Austin 1998, pet. denied). The debtor
is empowered with all procedural devices for reopening, vacating, or staying the judgment that any
post-judgment debtor is allowed. Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem.Code Ann. § 35.003(c); Mindis Metals, 132 S.W.3d
at 485; see Urso, 93 S.W.3d at 279; Markham, 973 S.W.2d at 440; Bahr, 928 S.W.2d at 100.
FOREIGN JUDGMENTS -- HOUSTON CASES
Haaksman v. Diamond Offshore (Bermuda), Ltd. (Tex.App.- Houston [14th Dist.] Apr. 24, 2008)(Anderson)
(domestication of foreign money judgment, personal jurisdiction over debtor)
REVERSED AND REMANDED: Opinion by Justice Anderson
Before Justices Anderson, Fowler and Frost
14-06-00477-CV Suzanne Elisabeth Haaksman (as beneficiary of Robert Duncan Burn Quinn) and
Thomas Joseph McCartney v. Diamond Offshore (Bermuda), LTD.
Appeal from 234th District Court of Harris County
Trial Court Judge: Reese Rondon
Cantu v. Grossman (Tex.App.- Houston [14th Dist.] Jan. 29, 2008)(Seymore)(venue rules, foreign
judgment, MTV) (majority opinion with dissent)
REVERSED AND REMANDED: Opinion by Justice Seymore
Before Justices Frost, Seymore and Guzman
14-06-00078-CV Mark A. Cantu v. Howard S. Grossman, P.A.
Appeal from 215th District Court of Harris County (Honorable Levi James Benton)
Dissenting Opinion by Justice Frost
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