IN COURT OF APPEALS
Filed May 29, 2007
Hennepin County District Court
File No. 27-CV-06-10382
Mitchel C. Chargo, Norman I. Taple, Todd Murray, Gurstel Law Firm, P.A., 401 North Third Street, Suite 590, Minneapolis, MN 55401 (for respondent)
Donald C. Mark, Jr., Connie A. Lahn, Anthony Gabor, Fafinski Mark & Johnson, P.A., 775 Prairie Center Drive, Suite 400, Eden Prairie, MN 55344 (for appellant)
Considered and decided by Stoneburner, Presiding Judge; Dietzen, Judge; and Worke, Judge.
S Y L L A B U S
or revived judgment filed in
O P I N I O N
On appeal from an order denying a motion to stay docketing and enforcement of a foreign judgment that had been renewed two times in the original forum, appellant argues that the district court erred because Minn. Stat. § 548.29 (2006) does not require an affidavit from appellant when the affidavit of his attorney was sufficient, nor does it require that he post security upon filing the motion to stay. Appellant also argues that the district court exceeded the scope of the motion by making findings on the merits when it should have granted the motion to stay to permit appellant to research and brief the validity and enforceability of the judgment based on a statute-of-limitations argument. Although the district court erred in holding that Minn. Stat. § 548.29 requires the personal affidavit of a judgment debtor and posting of a bond prior to grant of a stay, we affirm because the district court correctly determined that appellant failed to show a ground on which docketing of the judgment would be stayed.
February 8, 1994, the Los Angeles County Superior Court (superior court)
entered a default judgment in the amount of $142,815.70 against appellant David
Fhima and in favor of respondent Christina Jensen. On October 12, 1999, the superior court
granted respondent’s application for renewal of the judgment in the amount of
$223,926.22. On August 1, 2005,
respondent filed a second application for renewal of the judgment. On October 7, 2005, the superior court
granted respondent’s application to renew the judgment in the amount of $352,612.82. Notice of renewal was sent to appellant at
his home in
26, 2006, respondent filed the judgment in
court held a hearing on July 6, 2006.
Appellant argued that the motion to stay be granted in order for
appellant to research and fully brief the legal basis for finding that the
judgment was no longer enforceable. Appellant
argued that renewal of the judgment only extended the period of enforceability
district court denied appellant’s motion for a stay of the docketing of the
foreign judgment, finding that respondent validly renewed her judgment and it
should be enforced in
I. Did the district court err in interpreting Minn. Stat. § 548.29, subd. 2 (2006) to require a personal affidavit from appellant?
II. Did the district court err in interpreting Minn. Stat. § 548.29, subd. 2 to require appellant to post security upon filing a motion to stay enforcement of the foreign judgment?
III. Did the district court err in exceeding the scope of the motion to stay enforcement of the foreign judgment by making findings on the merits and using those findings as a basis to deny the motion?
argues that the district court erred in interpreting Minn. Stat. § 548.29,
subd. 2 (2006). Statutory construction
is a question of law, which this court reviews de novo.
Appellant argues that the district court erred in interpreting Minn. Stat. § 548.29, subd. 2, to require a personal affidavit from appellant, when his attorney provided an affidavit with his motion. Minn. Stat. § 548.29, subd. 2, provides:
If the judgment debtor at any time shows the district court any ground upon which enforcement of a judgment of any district court or the Court of Appeals or Supreme Court of this state would be stayed, the court shall stay enforcement of the foreign judgment for an appropriate period, upon requiring the same security for satisfaction of the judgment which is required in this state.
The district denied appellant’s
motion to stay enforcement of the judgment. Among the reasons for denying the
motion, the district court found that the motion failed procedurally because
appellant failed to support the motion through sworn affidavit testimony. But Minn. Stat. § 548.29, subd. 2, does
not require appellant (the judgment debtor) to submit a personal sworn
affidavit. The statute requires
appellant to “show the district court
any ground upon which enforcement of a judgment . . . would be stayed.”
Respondent argues that appellant was required to support his motion with a personal affidavit because Minn. Stat. § 548.28, subd. 1 (2006), provides that “[a]t the time of filing of the foreign judgment, the judgment creditor or the creditor’s lawyer shall make and file with the court administrator an affidavit . . . .” Respondent suggests that because the Act provides in one section that the judgment creditor or the creditor’s attorney shall file an affidavit, and provides in another section that the judgment debtor show grounds upon which enforcement would be stayed, the Act shows the legislative intent behind requiring only the judgment debtor, and not an attorney, to show grounds to stay enforcement.
Appellant was required to move for
an order from a district court judge staying docketing of the judgment. “An application to the court for an order
shall be by motion which . . . shall be in writing, shall state with particularity
the grounds therefor, and shall set forth the relief or order sought.”
If the motion is based on any facts, those facts should be stated in the motion in summary fashion, but with sufficient detail to give all parties, and the court, notice of the essential facts relied upon. If the facts have not been established either by admissions in pleadings or by discovery responses, they should be set forth in detail by affidavits of persons having knowledge of the facts.
1 David F. Herr & Roger S.
Here, appellant’s attorney’s affidavit provided:
2. On May 26, 2006, a foreign judgment (“the Judgment”) in favor of [respondent] and against [appellant] was filed in Hennepin County District Court pursuant to Minn. Stat. § 548.27. . . .
3. The Judgment was originally filed in the Superior Court of California . . . on February 8, 1994. . . .
4. The Judgment was allegedly renewed in
5. [Appellant] intends to bring a Motion to Vacate the Judgment on the grounds that the Judgment is no longer enforceable pursuant to Minn. Stat. § 541.04 and Cal. [Civ. Proc. Code] § 683.120. . . .
the affidavit are exhibits of the May 26, 2006 filing of the foreign judgment,
the February 8, 1994 judgment, and the applications for renewal. Appellant’s attorney had knowledge of the
facts because all of the facts involve dates—when the original judgment was
filed, when the judgment was renewed, and when the judgment was filed in
Appellant also argues that the
district court erred in interpreting Minn. Stat. § 548.29, subd. 2, to
require security upon filing of the motion.
Statutory construction is
a question of law, which this court reviews de novo.
If the judgment debtor at any time shows the district court any ground upon which enforcement of [the foreign] judgment . . . would be stayed, the court shall stay enforcement of the foreign judgment for an appropriate period, upon requiring the same security for satisfaction of the judgment which is required in this state.
Minn. Stat. § 548.29, subd. 2 (emphasis added).
Here, the district court found that appellant’s motion failed for “procedural defects in failing to support his motion through sworn affidavit testimony and through his failure to provide security. . . .” But the language of the statute requires posting security only if the district court grants the motion to stay enforcement of the judgment, not upon filing of the motion. This meaning is clear when compared to other rules requiring the posting of security. For example, Minn. R. Civ. P. 65.03(a) provides that “[n]o temporary restraining order or temporary injunction shall be granted except upon the giving of security by the applicant . . . .” (Emphasis added.) Rule 65.03 requires the giving of security before a motion shall be granted; whereas Minn. Stat. § 548.29, subd. 2, provides that the court shall stay enforcement of the judgment upon requiring security. “Giving” security before the granting of a motion compels the moving party to perform the act of posting security before the district court may grant the motion. “Requiring” security obliges the district court to order the posting of security at the time of granting the motion. Therefore, the district court erred in interpreting the statute to require the posting of security at the time of filing the motion and finding that appellant’s motion failed procedurally because security was not posted.
Appellant argues that the district court erred by
denying his motion to stay the docketing and enforcement of the judgment. Appellant contends that he made a showing of
viable grounds on which the district court should have granted the motion to
stay; specifically that the statute of limitations had expired on the
enforcement of the judgment. The
district court found that because respondent renewed the judgment against
appellant, and appellant failed to object, the judgment was enforceable in
Appellant first argues that the district court improperly made findings on the merits of the statute-of-limitations argument. But Minn. Stat. § 548.29, subd. 2, requires appellant to show the district court grounds upon which the judgment would be stayed. The district court had to consider the merits of appellant’s argument in order to determine if he made an adequate showing under the statute.
also argues that the district court should have granted the motion because he
showed that a statute-of-limitations issue exists, and because he showed the
district court that a defense to the judgment exists, the district court should
have granted the motion to stay enforcement of the judgment in order for him to
move to vacate the judgment. The
construction and applicability of a statute of limitations is a question of
law, reviewed de novo. Benigni v.
original judgment was entered in 1994.
Respondent applied for renewal of the judgment in
Decisions in other jurisdictions on the application of statutes of limitations have been inconsistent. Some courts upheld enforcement of a revived foreign judgment.
Some uncertainty exists whether revival of
the original judgment in the state of rendition will serve to overcome the recognizing forum’s
shorter limitation on the original judgment . . . . One view distinguishes
between revival prolonging the original judgment and revival having the effect
of creating a new judgment: the former is said to continue to be barred by the
shorter local statute, while the latter is entitled to full faith and credit.
However, the implication in the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in [Watkins v.
D E C I S I O N
We conclude that a renewed or revived judgment is entitled to full faith and credit. To conclude otherwise would be inconsistent and against the orderly enforcement of judgments. Therefore, the district court did not err in denying appellant’s motion to stay because the statute of limitations period has not expired on respondent’s renewed judgment.