SW Legal studies in Business

Judgments May Be Registered for Enforcement in Multiple States
Description

Federal appeals court held that a judgment rendered in Hawaii in 1995 had expired in 2005 after its 10 year statute of limitations for enforcement, but since the judgment had been registered in Illinois in 1997, it could be enforced for ten years after that date of registration, in Texas and in other states.

Topic Court Procedure
Key Words

Judgment; Enforcement; Registration; Multiple Jurisdictions; Full Faith and Credit

C A S E   S U M M A R Y
Facts

When Ferdinand Marcos, former president of the Philippines, was driven from office, he moved to Hawaii in 1986. Many suits for human rights violations were filed against him. They were consolidated into a class action suit in federal court in Hawaii. In 1995 a judgment of $2 billion was entered against Marcos. Since he had died, the judgment went against his estate. The judgment was registered in Hawaii in 1995 and also in federal court in Illinois in 1997. In 2005, plaintiff registered the Hawaiian judgment in federal court in Texas in an effort to get title to property in Texas held by the Marcos estate. The Texas filing was a little more than ten years after the Hawaiian judgment was registered, which meant the Hawaiian judgment had expired, due to the ten year limit in Hawaii. The district court held that plaintiff could not register the judgment in Texas because it had expired. Plaintiff appealed.

Decision

Reversed and remanded. The decision in Hawaii was res judicata. Under the Full Faith and Credit Act, a state court judgment may be rendered in one state court, sued on as a judgment in a second state court, and then the judgment of the second state court may be successively sued on and enforced by a federal district court. Likewise, a judgment rendered in a federal district court may be sued on in another state and then enforced in subsequent states. Since the Hawaii judgment was registered in Illinois in 1997, it was still in effect in 2005, so it may be registered for enforcement in Texas. The Illinois judgment registration is equivalent to a new federal judgment obtained by filing an independent action on the original judgment.

Citation

Del Prado v. B.N. Development Co, ---F.3d--- (2010 WL 1267170, 5th Cir., 2010)

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