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Civil Practice – Statute of Limitations – Foreign Judgment – Revival of Judgment – Summary Judgment

Mundaca Financial Services LLC v. Casella. (Lawyers Weekly No. 11-16-0296, 7 pp.) (Robert C. Hunter, J.) Appealed from Haywood County Superior Court. (James U. Downs, J.) N.C. App. Unpub. Click here for the full text of the opinion.

Holding: The motion procedure used by plaintiff in New Jersey was a proceeding that revived an original judgment, but the revival procedure did not turn the original judgment into a new judgment. Since the revived judgment was not a new judgment but merely a continuation of a 1995 judgment, it was barred from enforcement in North Carolina by the 10-year statute of limitations.

Facts

In 1995, a consent judgment in the amount of $50,000 was entered against defendant in favor of plaintiff in Warren County, N.J. Plaintiff filed a “notice of filing of foreign judgment” in Haywood County in 2008.Defendant filed motions for relief from the judgment, for stay of execution and to quash the same, and sought attorney’s fees and costs of the action.

An order was entered by the trial court granting defendant relief from the foreign judgment on the grounds that it was barred by the statute of limitations and that any execution or enforcement of the judgment was quashed and would not be enforced in North Carolina.

Plaintiff filed a “notice of motion to revive” its judgment in 2009 in Warren County, N.J., requesting that its 1995 judgment be revived for an additional 20 years. The Warren County, N.J. court granted plaintiff’s motion, and plaintiff then filed another “Notice of Filing of Foreign Judgment” in Haywood County. It then filed a “motion to enforce foreign judgment.”

Defendant filed a “notice of defense to foreign judgment” and an accompanying brief. The trial court entered an order finding that the revived judgment was a new judgment, and it granted plaintiff’s motion to enforce the foreign judgment.

Defendant appealed.

Analysis

On appeal, defendant argued that the revival of the 1995 judgment in 2009 was not a new judgment but a continuance of the old judgment.

G.S. § 1-47(1) provides a 10-year statute of limitations period for any action upon a judgment or decree of any court of the United States, or of any state or territory thereof, from the date of its entry. No such action may be brought more than once, or have the effect to continue the lien of the original judgment. This statute affects foreign and domestic judgments alike.

It has long been established that the enforcement of a judgment of a sister state may be barred by application of the statute of limitations of the forum state.

It is undisputed that when plaintiff sought to enforce the 1995 judgment in 2008, it was barred by the 10-year statute of limitations in North Carolina.

Plaintiff then revived its 1995 judgment pursuant to New Jersey law. However, under New Jersey law, the motion procedure used by plaintiff revived the original judgment for an additional 20 years. It is not a new judgment.

We hold that the 2009 revival did not constitute a new judgment; consequently, we reverse and remand this case to the trial court to reconsider the matter in light of our holding.

Reversed and remanded.


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