Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Tropic Leisure Corp. v. Hailey

Court of Appeals of North Carolina

February 7, 2017

TROPIC LEISURE CORP., MAGEN POINT, INC. d/b/a MAGENS POINT RESORT, Plaintiffs,
v.
JERRY A. HAILEY, Defendant.

         Appeal by defendant from order entered 10 September 2015 by Judge Debra Sasser in Wake County District Court No. 15 CVD 2244. Heard in the Court of Appeals 25 May 2016. Opinion filed 16 August 2016. Petition for rehearing granted 30 September 2016. The following opinion supersedes and replaces the opinion filed 16 August 2016.

          Warren, Shackleford & Thomas, P.L.L.C., by R. Keith Shackleford, for plaintiffs-appellees.

          The Armstrong Law Firm, P.A., by L. Lamar Armstrong, Jr. and Daniel K. Keeney, for defendant-appellant.

          DAVIS, JUDGE.

         This case presents the question of whether a North Carolina court must give full faith and credit to a judgment rendered in a foreign jurisdiction under procedural rules prohibiting the defendant from being represented by counsel at trial. Jerry A. Hailey ("Defendant") appeals from an order denying his motion for relief from a foreign judgment that Tropic Leisure Corp. and Magens[1] Point, Inc., d/b/a Magens Point Resort (collectively "Plaintiffs") sought to enforce against him in North Carolina. On appeal, Defendant argues that the foreign judgment should not be enforced because it was rendered in violation of his due process rights. After careful review, we vacate the trial court's order.

         Factual and Procedural Background

         On 2 April 2014, Plaintiffs, who are corporations organized under the laws of the United States Virgin Islands, obtained a default judgment (the "Judgment") in the small claims division of the Virgin Islands Superior Court against Defendant, who is a resident of North Carolina, in the amount of $5, 764.00 plus interest and costs. Defendant did not appeal the default judgment. On 17 February 2015, Plaintiffs filed a Notice of Filing Foreign Judgment in Wake County District Court along with a copy of the Judgment and a supporting affidavit.

         Defendant filed a motion for relief from foreign judgment on 6 April 2015 in which he argued that the Judgment was not entitled to full faith and credit in North Carolina because it was obtained in violation of his constitutional rights and was against North Carolina public policy. Plaintiffs subsequently filed a motion to enforce the foreign judgment.

         The parties' motions were heard before the Honorable Debra Sasser on 30 July 2015. On 10 September 2015, the trial court entered an order denying Defendant's motion for relief and concluding that Plaintiffs were entitled to enforcement of the Judgment under the Full Faith and Credit Clause of the United States Constitution, U.S. Const. art. IV, § 1, and North Carolina's Uniform Enforcement of Foreign Judgments Act ("UEFJA"), N.C. Gen. Stat. §§ 1C-1701 et seq. Defendant filed a timely notice of appeal.

         Analysis

         On appeal, Defendant argues that the trial court erred in extending full faith and credit to the Judgment. This issue involves a question of law, which we review de novo. See DOCRX, Inc. v. EMI Servs. of N.C., LLC, 367 N.C. 371, 375, 758 S.E.2d 390, 393, cert. denied, ___ U.S. ___, 135 S.Ct. 678, 190 L.Ed.2d 390 (2014) (applying de novo review to whether Full Faith and Credit Clause required North Carolina to enforce foreign judgment).

         I. UEFJA

         The Full Faith and Credit Clause "requires that the judgment of the court of one state must be given the same effect in a sister state that it has in the state where it was rendered."[2] State of New York v. Paugh, 135 N.C.App. 434, 439, 521 S.E.2d 475, 478 (1999) (citation omitted). "[B]ecause a foreign state's judgment is entitled to only the same validity and effect in a sister state as it had in the rendering state, the foreign judgment must satisfy the requisites of a valid judgment under the laws of the rendering state before it will be afforded full faith and credit." Bell Atl. Tricon Leasing Corp. v. Johnnie's Garbage Serv., Inc., 113 N.C.App. 476, 478-79, 439 S.E.2d 221, 223, disc. review denied, 336 N.C. 314, 445 S.E.2d 392 (1994).

         The UEFJA "governs the enforcement of foreign judgments that are entitled to full faith and credit in North Carolina." Lumbermans Fin., LLC v. Poccia, 228 N.C.App. 67, 70, 743 S.E.2d 677, 679 (2013) (citation and quotation marks omitted). In order to domesticate a foreign judgment under the UEFJA, a party must file a properly authenticated foreign judgment with the office of the clerk of superior court in any North Carolina county along with an affidavit attesting to the fact that the foreign judgment is both final and unsatisfied in whole or in part and setting forth the amount remaining to be paid on the judgment. See N.C. Gen. Stat. § 1C-1703(a) (2015).

         The introduction into evidence of these materials "establishes a presumption that the judgment is entitled to full faith and credit." Meyer v. Race City Classics, LLC, 235 N.C.App. 111, 114, 761 S.E.2d 196, 200, disc. review denied, 367 N.C. 796, 766 S.E.2d 624 (2014). The party seeking to defeat enforcement of the foreign judgment must "present evidence to rebut the presumption that the judgment is enforceable . . . ." Rossi v. Spoloric, ___ N.C.App. ___, ___, 781 S.E.2d 648, 654 (2016). A properly filed foreign judgment "has the same effect and is subject to the same defenses as a judgment of this State and shall be enforced or satisfied in like manner[.]" N.C. Gen. Stat. § 1C-1703(c). Thus, a judgment debtor may file a motion for relief from the foreign judgment on any "ground for which relief from a judgment of this State would be allowed." N.C. Gen. Stat. § 1C-1705(a) (2015).

         Our Supreme Court has held that "the defenses preserved under North Carolina's UEFJA are limited by the Full Faith and Credit Clause to those defenses which are directed to the validity and enforcement of a foreign judgment." DOCRX, 367 N.C. at 382, 758 S.E.2d at 397. In DOCRX, the Supreme Court provided the ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.