Compton v. Compton

Decision Date10 June 1940
Docket Number34201
CourtMississippi Supreme Court

APPEAL from the chancery court of Hinds county, HON. V. J. STRICKER Chancellor.

Proceeding by Mrs. Violet Compton against Roy W. Compton to recover past-due monthly installments of alimony which had accrued to Mrs. Violet Compton under a Louisiana judgment. From the decree, Roy W. Compton appeals. Affirmed.


Harold Cox, of Jackson, for appellant.

The lower court erred in awarding a decree in any amount against the appellant based on the Louisiana judgment under the facts in this record.

Steele v. Steele, 118 So. 721, 152 Miss. 365.

The undisputed facts in this record show that the appellant had moved his residence to Jackson, Mississippi, prior to the filing of the initial proceeding in said Louisiana court for divorce and alimony. The undisputed evidence in this record shows that the two waivers executed by appellant were signed and delivered by appellant in Jackson, Mississippi. It was a palpable effort on the part of the attorneys for the complainant in the Louisiana proceeding to have the nonresident appellant in this proceeding confer territorial jurisprudence by consent of his person. Under numerous decisions of this court and from the Supreme Court of Louisiana, it is held that jurisdiction can't be conferred by consent.

50 C J. 487.

The court will notice that the waiver was not proved nor acknowledged in any manner.

Industrial Investment Co. v. Standard Life Ins. Co., 170, Miss. 138, 149 So. 883; Boone v. Miller, 133 So. 121, 160 Miss. 287; Nelson v. Employers' Casualty Co. (La.), 141 So. 619.

The transcript of the Louisiana District Court shows that said court was without jurisdiction to have entered the decree in question on March 7, 1938.

Chew &amp Relf v. Randolph, Walker (1 Miss.), 1.

The lower court erred under such circumstances in admitting in evidence said transcript of said Louisiana proceeding over the special objection of appellant.

The next error complained of is that the lower court awarded appellee a decree for the full amount sued for without any proof to sustain her complaint that any specific amount remained due and unpaid under the Louisiana decree.

While the appellee was privileged to file an amended bill of complaint and did secure proper authority to do so, she was not entitled to make out a new case, or to recover for any instalments under said decree which were not due and therefore recoverable in the original bill of complaint.

Griffith's Chan. Practice, sec. 398.

There is another more fundamental reason why the accumulated instalments under said decree maturing after July 7, 1939, and through September 7, 1939 were not recoverable in this action. The future instalments which were unmatured under said decree of said Louisiana District Court when the original bill of complaint was filed in the lower court on August 2, 1939, could not be recovered in the amended bill of complaint, which was filed in the lower court on November 9, 1939. Such amount accruing from July to September was not recoverable in the amended bill of complaint, unless it would have been recoverable if sued for in the original bill of complaint, since such instalments matured while the original bill of complaint was pending in the lower court.

Laign v. Rigney, 16. S.Ct. 366; Sec. 160, Dart's Louisiana Civil Code.

The decree of the Louisiana District Court, dated March 7, 1938, was and is not such a final judgment as is entitled to full faith and credit under the laws of this state. That identical question has been decided in this state. This court has held that since a final decree of a Louisiana District Court is subject to change under the plain provisions of the statute of that state, that even a judgment for the matured instalments thereunder is not recoverable in the courts of this state.

Western Life Indemnity Co. v. Rupp, 235 U.S. 261; Gallant v. Gallant, 123 So. 883, 154 Miss. 832.

This court has never indicated any inclination to change the decree in the case of Gallant v. Gallant, and there is now existent in this case a more impelling force than merely the doctrine of stare decisis against an overturn of the Gallant case after appellant and counsel have relied so implicitly thereon to determine and guide their course in refusing to negotiate with the appellee in a settlement of this controversy in absolute reliance upon the Gallant case and the subsequent reaffirmance thereof.

State v. Longino, 67 So. 902, 109 Miss. 125.

We submit that the decree of the Louisiana court was not such a final decree as entitled it to full faith and credit under the Constitution in the courts of this state. Such announcement has been made and consistently adhered to by this court and ought not to be changed at this late date. No harmful or mischievous effect has been shown or can be shown to result from an adherence to the announcement of this court in the Gallant case, and even stronger reasons than the mere impelling force of stare decisis require a reaffirmation by this court of the principles announced in that case. The case of Snow v. Snow, 177 So. 793, does not even undertake to criticize the Gallant case but merely adroitly distinguishes it, and rather compliments the court upon its position in dealing with the question in that case, as in the case at bar, of whether or not the judgment was such a final judgment as to entitle it to full faith and credit under the Constitution.

In awarding the appellee a decree in this record of $ 510 on that Louisiana District Court decree, we submit with the utmost deference and confidence that the lower court erred and that the judgment of the lower court ought to be reversed and a judgment entered here dismissing said bill of complaint.

R. H. and J. H. Thompson, of Jackson, for appellee.

The judgment of the District Court of the State of Louisiana, upon which this suit is brought, is entitled to full faith and credit in the courts of the State of Mississippi.

Const. of U.S. Art. IV, sec. 1; Sistare v. Sistare, 218 U.S. 1; Snow v. Snow (La.), 177 So. 793.

The judgment of the Louisiana court upon which suit was brought is a final judgment.

Snow v. Snow (La.), 177 So. 793.

The Louisiana court had jurisdiction over the person of the defendant.

Mutual National Bank v. Moore (La.), 24 So. 304; 34 C. J. 1147, par. 1624 ee.

A foreign judgment for alimony will be enforced in the courts of the State of Mississippi as if it were a domestic judgment.

Fanchier v. Gammill, 148 Miss. 723, 114 So. 813, 155 Miss. 316, 124 So. 365.

The courts of Mississippi have the right in this case to inquire into the jurisdiction of the Louisiana courts over the person of the defendant. However, the test as to jurisdiction is found in the laws of Louisiana and in the decisions of the Supreme Court. The fact that the District Court in which the Louisiana decree was rendered held that it had jurisdiction is not lightly to be disregarded. The decision in Mutual National Bank v. Moore (La.), 24 So. 304, appears to foreclose any question as to jurisdiction. That decision is of interest not only because it shows what weight the Supreme Court of Louisiana has given to an entry of appearance such as exists in this case, but also that such an entry of appearance gave jurisdiction to the Alabama court in which it was introduced to render a judgment which was held to be, by the Supreme Court of Louisiana, the basis for the rendition thereon by the courts of Louisiana of a judgment in Louisiana.

In Gallant v. Gallant, 154 Miss. 832, 123 So. 883, the Supreme Court of Mississippi held that a decree could not be rendered in Mississippi on a Louisiana decree for divorce, under the full faith and credit clause of the United States Constitution, where the decree could be annulled, varied, or modified by the court rendering it. It is interesting to note that the decision in the case just cited was based upon the fact that no Louisiana case was cited, and none could be found by the court directly in point upon the question of the right of the Louisiana court to revoke or modify a judgment for permanent alimony after monthly installments have accrued thereunder; and, therefore, the conclusion of the Mississippi Supreme Court upon that question was based upon a consideration of the decisions involving alimony pendente lite.

It is further of interest to note that various Louisiana decisions were discussed in the opinion and that these decisions have been again reviewed and discussed by the Supreme Court of Louisiana in the Snow case. Had it not been for the decision in the Snow case, appellee's action could not be maintained, because of the holding in the Gallant case. The Louisiana Supreme Court not only discussed and reviewed the Louisiana cases, but discussed the Gallant case, and in discussing it, said: "But we do not construe the opinion or decree rendered by the Supreme Court of Mississippi, in Gallant v. Gallant, as meaning that a Louisiana court that has rendered a judgment for alimony in favor of a divorced woman may annul or amend the judgment for an amount that has become delinquent since the judgment was rendered, on the debtor's showing that he was financially unable to pay the alimony when it came due, or afterwards. If a judgment for alimony is not more substantial than that, it is of little or no value or protection to the one in whose favor it is rendered. There is no reason why a judgment for alimony as to the amount which has become past-due since the judgment was rendered, should not be protected by the provision in Article 548 of the Code of Practice, that a judgment when once rendered becomes the property of the one in whose favor it has...

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