Enforcement of Foreign/Sister State Judgments – Domesticating Judgments In Texas
The Texas Uniform Enforcement of Foreign Judgments Act provides for the recognition of judgments from other territories, states and federal courts in the United States. Such a judgment has the same effect and is subject to the same procedures as a judgment rendered in the state of Texas once properly filed. The Texas Civil Practice & Remedies Code section 35.003 provides:
(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.
There are two procedures to enforce a judgment from another state thereby “domesticating” that judgment. The first, and most commonly used procedure, is to file a properly authenticated copy of the foreign judgment with the clerk of the Texas court where enforcement is sought along with an affidavit showing the names and addresses of the judgment debtor and judgment creditor as well as the judgment creditor’s attorney in the state of Texas, if one exists. Either the clerk of that court or the judgment creditor must then send notice of the filing of the foreign judgment to the judgment debtor. Upon proper filing, the foreign judgment is treated as a Texas judgment and the collection process may begin. The Texas Civil Practice & Remedies Code section 35.004 provides:
(a) At the time a foreign judgment is filed, the judgment creditor or the judgment creditor’s attorney shall file with the clerk of the court an affidavit showing the name and last known post office address of the judgment debtor and the judgment creditor.
(b) The judgment creditor or the judgment creditor’s attorney shall: 1. Promptly mail notice of the filing of the foreign judgment to the judgment debtor at the address provided for the judgment debtor under Subsection (a); and 2. file proof of mailing of the notice with the clerk of the court.
(c) The notice must include the name and post office address of the judgment creditor and if the judgment creditor has an attorney in this state, the attorney’s name and address.
(d) On receipt of proof of mailings under Subsection (b), the clerk of the court shall note the mailing in the docket.
The second procedure involves the filing of a common law action to enforce a foreign judgment. Typically, the procedure here is to file the new lawsuit then immediately move for summary judgment based on claim preclusion. This procedure may be useful when wishing to enforce a foreign judgment in Texas and add parties to the new lawsuit in Texas.
Enforcement of Foreign Country Judgments
The Texas Uniform Foreign Country Money-Judgment Recognition Act provides for the recognition of judgments from other countries, which grant or deny a sum of money other than taxes, fines, penalties or support in a matrimonial or family matter. The judgment must be final, conclusive and enforceable in the country in which it was rendered regardless of a pending appeal. Upon completion of the statutory requirements for filing such a judgment, the foreign country judgment is enforceable as if it were a sister state judgment entitled to full faith and credit.
Like the foreign state judgment, the foreign country judgment may be “domesticated” in Texas by filing a properly authenticated copy of the judgment along with an affidavit containing the names and addresses of the judgment creditor and judgment debtor as well as the judgment creditor’s attorney in the state of Texas, if any. The filing must be made in the county of residence of the party against whom recognition is sought or in any other Texas county of competent jurisdiction as allowed by Texas venue laws. Either the clerk of that court or the judgment creditor must then send notice of the filing of the foreign judgment to the judgment debtor. Barring nonrecognition of the foreign country judgment under the Uniform Foreign Country Money-Judgment Recognition Act, the foreign judgment is treated as a Texas judgment and the collection process may begin.
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