What happens when a creditor gets a judgment against a debtor in Alabama (or another state) but then the judgment debtor moves to North Carolina, or the bulk of its property is in North Carolina? Can the creditor can get its “foreign” (meaning out-of-state, not out-of-country) judgment enforced in North Carolina? Yes, and typically the most efficient way is to follow the steps in North Carolina’s version of the Uniform Enforcement of Foreign Judgments Act (“UEFJA”), G.S. 1C-1703 through -1708.
If the creditor follows the UEFJA’s filing and notice requirements, the foreign judgment will be “docketed and indexed in the same manner as a judgment of this State.” The creditor can seek enforcement of the judgment just as if it had originally been entered in North Carolina. But the UEFJA further provides that the judgment “is subject to the same defenses as a judgment of this State[.]” G.S. 1C-1703(c). To that end, before enforcement can begin, the judgment debtor has a 30-day window to file a motion for relief from (or notice of defenses to) the judgment. G.S. 1C-1704(b). The UEFJA goes on to state that the debtor can raise “any other ground for which relief from a judgment of this State would be allowed.” 1C-1705(a).
On the face of things, the UEFJA’s “same defenses” and “any other ground” language seems pretty broad and appears to open up all kinds of challenges. But does it really mean all defenses that a debtor might raise to enforcement of a North Carolina judgment? More pointedly, does every Rule 60(b) basis for “relief” from judgment apply? Continue Reading