Hamilton v. Patterson

Decision Date08 June 1960
Docket NumberNo. 17666,17666
CourtSouth Carolina Supreme Court
PartiesM. Kenneth HAMILTON and Sophie Hamilton, trading and doing business under the name and style of Texas Kiddie Rides of Florida, Respondents, v. W. J. PATTERSON and Ruby H. Patterson, Appellants.

Sam R. Watt, Spartanburg, for appellants.

Kerr & Evins, Spartanburg, for respondents.

OXNER, Justice.

This is an appeal by defendants from an order striking their answer as irrelevant, sham and frivolous and not constituting a defense to plaintiffs' cause of action, and granting judgment in accordance with the prayer of the complaint.

Plaintiffs alleged that in an action instituted by them in the Circuit Court of Orange County, Florida, a court of general jurisdiction, they recovered judgment against defendants on October 28, 1958, for $12,383.82, which was duly docketed and enrolled in the Clerk's office of said county; that no part of said judgment had been paid and that there was due and owing thereon the full amount with interest from October 28, 1958. The prayer was for judgment for $12,383.82 and interest.

As a first defense, the defendants denied that the judgment referred to in the complaint 'was a valid and lawful judgment', and further denied the remaining allegations of the complaint. As a second defense, they alleged that the action brought against them in Florida was for an alleged balance due upon the purchase price of 'Karousels', which they claimed they were induced to purchase by fraudulent representations on the part of plaintiffs as to the income to be derived from said machines, and were further falsely led by plaintiffs to believe that they were purchasing a 'going business'. As a third defense, defendants alleged 'That they never did purchase but two of said Karousel machines outright from the plaintiffs which were paid for in full and these were for the sum of Twelve Hundred Ninety-five and No/100 ($1,295.00) Dollars each.' As a fourth defense, they alleged that some of the machines, originally valued at $1,295 each, were seized and sold by plaintiffs and bid in by them for the sum of $100, which was far less than their full market value. It was then alleged that 'in good conscience and equity, the plaintiffs should not a permitted to recover in this action, and in the event they are permitted to recover in any amount (defendants deny owing the plaintiffs any sum) then and in such event, the defendants should be given full credit for the full market value of said machines.' As a fifth defense, defendants alleged that they had never received any income from any of the machines except the two which had been paid for in full, and that 'in view of all the facts and circumstances leading up to and including (inducing) the defendants to make any purchase or to enter into any agreement with the plaintiffs were false and untrue and therefore the plaintiffs should not recover in this action.'

Attached to the motion to strike and made a part thereof was an exemplified copy of the final decree of the Florida Court properly attested and authenticated in accordance with the applicable Federal statute. It is recited in this decree that after hearing the evidence and considering the entire record, it was found that the property referred to in the suit had been sold by the Clerk of that Court to the plaintiffs for $100, which represented its reasonable value, and that after deducting this amount, there was due and owing by defendants to plaintiffs the sum of $12,383.82. It was thereupon adjudged and decreed that the Court had jurisdiction of the parties and the subject matter; that the motion for deficiency decree be granted; and that the plaintiffs do recover of defendants the sum of $12,383.82, with interest from the date of the decree.

Although not show in the exemplified copy of said judgment, it is conceded that defendants filed an answer in the suit instituted in Florida.

It is the duty of the Court to strike out an answer when it appears 'that the pleading is manifestly sham and irrelevant or false, and is filed merely for the purpose of delay or without good faith'; and an answer may be stricken as sham notwithstanding the fact that it 'contains a general denial, if admissions in the remainder of the answer disclose the fact that there is no defense.' Ocean Forest Co. v. Woodside, 184 S.C. 428, 192 S.E. 413, 417.

There is a presumption that the Florida Court had jurisdiction of the subject matter and the parties and that all proceedings in that case were regular and in accordance with the Florida law. In Coskery v. Wood, 52 S.C. 516, 30 S.E. 475, 476, the Court said: 'When * * * an action is brought in this state upon a judgment recovered in another state,--a foreign judgment, as it is termed,--and the same is properly authenticated in the manner prescribed by the acts of congress for that purpose, it must be regarded, at least, as prima facie evidence that such judgment has been rendered by a court of competent jurisdiction, in conformity to the laws of the state in which it appears to have been rendered.' There is nothing in the answer to rebut this presumption. The attack now made upon the judgment goes only to the merits of the case tried in Florida. Where a judgment rendered by a court having jurisdiction of the cause and the parties is challenged in another State, 'the full faith and credit clause of the Constitution precludes any inquiry into the merits of the cause of action, the logic or consistency of the decision, or the validity of the legal principles on which the judgment is based.' Milliken v. Meyer, 311 U.S. 457, 61 S.Ct. 339, 342, 85 L.Ed. 278. 'Because there is a full faith and credit clause a defendant may not a second time challenge the validity of a plaintiff's right which has ripened into a judgment.' Magnolia Petroleum Co. v. Hunt, 320 U.S. 430, 64 S.Ct. 208, 214, 88 L.Ed. 149, 150 A.L.R. 413.

This clause of the Federal Constitution U.S.Const. art. 4, § 1 and the Act of Congress which implements it 'require the judgments of the courts of one State to be given the same faith and credit in another State as they have by law or usage in the courts of the State rendering them.' Morris v. Jones, 329 U.S. 545, 67 S.Ct. 451, 454, 91 L.Ed. 488, 168 A.L.R. 656. We, therefore, proceed to determine whether the defenses set up in this answer could have been...

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23 cases
  • Ex parte Moore
    • United States
    • South Carolina Court of Appeals
    • June 4, 2001
    ...is so inadequate that it shocks the conscience of the court, the sale is void and will be set aside. See Hamilton v. Patterson, 236 S.C. 487, 494, 115 S.E.2d 68, 71 (1960) ("It is well settled in this State `that inadequacy of price, unless so gross as to shock the conscience of the court o......
  • Security Credit Leasing, Inc. v. Armaly
    • United States
    • South Carolina Court of Appeals
    • March 6, 2000
    ...must give such force and effect to a foreign judgment as the judgment would receive in the state where rendered. Hamilton v. Patterson, 236 S.C. 487, 115 S.E.2d 68 (1960); Carson v. Vance, 326 S.C. 543, 485 S.E.2d 126 (Ct.App. 1997); Bankers Trust Co. v. Braten, 317 S.C. 547, 455 S.E.2d 199......
  • Ford v. Ford
    • United States
    • South Carolina Supreme Court
    • November 15, 1961
    ...the Manner in which such Acts, Records and Proceedings shall be proved, and the Effect thereof.' In the case of Hamilton v. Patterson, 236 S.C. 487, 115 S.E.2d 68, 70, this Court '* * * Where a judgment rendered by a court having jurisdiction of the cause and the parties is challenged in an......
  • Security Crdit Leasing v. Armaly
    • United States
    • South Carolina Court of Appeals
    • March 6, 2000
    ...must give such force and effect to a foreign judgment as the judgment would receive in the state where rendered. Hamilton v. Patterson, 236 S.C. 487, 115 S.E.2d 68 (1960); Carson v. Vance, 326 S.C. 543, 485 S.E.2d 126 (Ct. App. 1997); Bankers Trust Co. v. Braten, 317 S.C. 547, 455 S.E.2d 19......
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