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Filing and Status of Foreign Judgments

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When common law courts in England established real estate laws, land ownership was geographically restricted. As a result, the decrees and orders of an early English common law court were also restricted to the territorial boundaries of the monarchy.

In contrast, land ownership in modern society is more complicated. To foster an efficient administration of property rights, courts whose jurisdiction was geographically restricted to a particular area were allowed to ratify the judgment of another state or country. This essentially gives the judgment of that out-of-state court full legal effect in the state over which the court enjoys jurisdiction.

For more information on how we can help you, call us at (516) 246-2449 for a free consultation today.

Filing Procedure for Foreign Judgments

The New York Civil Practice Law and Rules (CPLR) provides the procedural scheme for the recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments. Under CPLR § 5401, a “foreign judgment” is defined to mean “any judgment, decree, or order of a court of the United States or of any other court which is entitled to full faith and credit in this state, except one obtained by default in appearance, or by confession of judgment…”

First, a New York court must have the foreign judgment on file to give it full legal effect. Under CPLR § 5402(a), foreign judgments must be filed with a New York state court according to certain procedural requirements governing the time and sufficiency of the filing.

To acquire legal effect in New York, a foreign judgment must comply with the following requirements:

  • Time to File: Foreign judgments must be filed within 90 days of the date of the judgment’s authentication in the office of any county clerk of the state;
  • Affidavit: Accompanied with an affidavit identifying the name and last known address of the judgment debtor, stating that the judgment:
    • Was not obtained by “default in appearance” or by “confession of judgment;”
    • Is unsatisfied in whole or in part;
    • The remaining amount is unpaid;
    • The judgment’s enforcement has not been stayed.

Legal Status of Foreign Judgments

Under CPLR § 5402(b), a foreign judgment shall be treated “in the same manner as a judgment of the supreme court of this state.”

Under principles of full faith and credit, the judgments and orders of one state court will be given full legal effect in all other state courts. Thus, for example, the rights and privileges a person from California would ordinarily enjoy in their home state are legally recognized in New York as well.

Therefore, a foreign judgment that is filed correctly under CPLR § 5402 has the same legal effect as a New York judgment and is “subject to the same procedures, defenses, and proceedings for reopening, vacating or staying” a New York judgment.

New York Real Estate Lawyers from James J. Quail & Associates, P.C.

When you need the judgment of another state or nation’s court to be effective against persons or property residing in New York, you need a skilled Massapequa real estate lawyer with extensive experience in New York civil procedure regarding the filing and enforcement of foreign judgments. At the office of James J. Quail & Associates, P.C., our attorneys are well-versed in New York’s Code for Civil Practice Law and Rules. We have the skill and education to help make sure New York courts properly recognize your rights.

If you have a judgement in a foreign county and need more information on registering, domesticating or enforcing this foreign judgment, call James J. Quail & Associates at (516) 246-2449 or contact us online today.

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