DOCRX V. EMI SERVICES
June 17, 2014
In this case, the plaintiff obtained a default judgment against the defendant Alabama for approximately $450,000. The plaintiff then sought to file (or domesticate) the judgment in North Carolina, pursuant to the Uniform Enforcement of Foreign Judgments Act. At the trial level, the court ruled that the judgment was procured by "intrinsic fraud," and ruled that it would not enforce the judgment in North Carolina.
On appeal, the plaintiff argued that the ruling violated the "Full Faith and Credit" clause of the Constitution. The court generally agreed that the UEFJA on its face allowed the court to attack a foreign judgment on the basis of intrinsic fraud. It then ruled, however, that the Full Faith and Credit Clause (which generally requires one state to honor a judgment entered in another state) allows a foreign judgment to be invalidated only for "extrinsic fraud," as well as for voidness and for satisfaction.
The case of Docrx v. EMI Services of NC is an important case demonstrating the circumstances in which a foreign judgment can be avoided. Unfortunately, the opinion does not explain the meaning of "extrinsic" fraud, other than to say that intrinsic fraud is fraud"arising within the proceeding itself and concerning some matter necessarily under the consideration of the court upon the merits."
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