Kohn v. Haas

Citation95 Ala. 478,12 So. 577
PartiesKOHN ET AL. v. HAAS.
Decision Date17 May 1892
CourtSupreme Court of Alabama

Appeal from city court of Montgomery; Thomas M. Arrington, Judge.

Action on a foreign judgment by Kohn, Leberman & Co. against J. C Haas. Defendant had judgment on demurrer to plaintiffs' replication, and plaintiffs appeal. Affirmed.

Thorington & Smith, for appellants.

Arrington & Graham, for appellee.

COLEMAN J.

The only questions presented to this court for review are those which arise from the pleadings. Appellants (plaintiffs) brought suit in the city court of Montgomery against J. C Haas upon a judgment recovered against him in a court of general jurisdiction in the city of Philadelphia, state of Pennsylvania. To the counplaint the defendant filed his plea setting up that the court in which the judgment was rendered was without jurisdiction of his person at the time of its rendition. The plaintiffs, by their replication to the plea of the want of jurisdiction, showed that, at a subsequent term of the same court, the defendant moved the court to vacate and annul the judgment, (the foundation of the present suit,) upon the same grounds now set up in the pleas as a defense, and that, after notice to the plaintiffs in that suit, the question was adjudicated adversely to the motion. The defendant demurred to the replication of the plaintiffs for that the replication failed to aver that the court had jurisdiction to hear and adjudicate the subject-matter of the motion, and also upon the further ground that the replication failed to aver that the question was heard and adjudicated upon its merits. The court sustained the demurrer to plaintiffs' replication, and the correctness of this ruling is the question for consideration.

In Buchanan v. Thomason, 70 Ala. 402, it was declared that "the rule is well settled that a court is without power to alter, vary, or annul final judgments or decrees after the close of the term at which they may have been rendered, unless it be mere clerical errors or omissions." It is equally well settled that a court, at any subsequent term, may vacate and annul a judgment or decree which is void upon its face; but if the invalidity of the judgment is not apparent on the face of the record, and can only be shown by matters extrinsic or dehors the record (except in case one of the parties was dead at the time it was rendered,) then the general rule applies, and the court is powerless over final judgments and decrees rendered at a former term. Johnson v. Glasscock, 2 Ala. 522; Carlisle v. Killebrew, (Ala.) 8 South. Rep. 355; Baker v. Barclift, 76 Ala. 417; Cox v. Jones, 40 Ala. 297. If the court had granted the motion, and vacated the judgment, we would presume in favor of the ruling of the court that the record proceedings showed upon their face that the court had no jurisdiction, and the presumption also arises from the refusal of the court to grant the motion that, upon the record proceedings, prima facie the judgment was not void. It would not follow, however, from these presumptions, that the court had jurisdiction to hear evidence, extrinsic the record, and to determine from this evidence that the court had jurisdiction to determine the facts involved in the motion. In fact it would require statutory authority to authorize the court to exercise such jurisdiction at a subsequent term. We understand the foregoing to be a well-settled rule at common law, and presumptively is the law in all the states of common-law origin. The reasons are stated forcibly and with great clearness in the case of Pettus v. McClanahan, 52 Ala. 57. It is also settled that we must presume that the judgment rendered by a court of general jurisdiction of a sister state had jurisdiction of the subject-matter adjudicated, until the contrary appear. Slaughter v. Cunningham, 24 Ala. 269; Kingman v. Paulson, 126 Ind. 507, 26 N.E. 393. If it be apparent on the face of the record that the court did not have jurisdiction, then no such presumption arises. Dozier v. Joyce, 8 Port. (Ala.) 312; Slaughter v. Cunningham, supra; Arthur v. Israel, (Colo. Sup.) 25 P. 81; Blanton v. Carroll, 86 Va. 539, 542, 10 S.E. Rep. 329; Benefield v. Albert, 132 Ill. 665, 24 N.E. 634; Henderson v. Banks, 70 Tex. 398, 7 S.W. 815. Under these principles, we are of opinion that the motion of defendant, Haas, entered in the court of common pleas of Philadelphia to vacate and annul the judgment rendered against him at a former term, was a direct attack upon the validity of the judgment; but we are of opinion that at common law the jurisdiction of the court to consider the motion was limited to facts apparent upon the face of the record proceedings. If the proceedings showed upon their face that the court which rendered the judgment did not have jurisdiction of the person of the defendant, it was within the power of the court to vacate and annul the judgment. We are furthermore of the opinion that, if the proceedings prima facie were correct, and the judgment upon its face regular, so that it required extrinsic evidence, matters dehors the record (if such were the real facts) to show that the court did not have jurisdiction of the person of the defendant, then, under the general principle that a court has no power over its final judgments after the adjournment of the term at which they were rendered, (except as hereinabove limited and qualified,) the court did not have jurisdiction, in the absence of a statute, at a subsequent term to adjudicate the question of fact presented by the motion of defendant...

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22 cases
  • Pettis v. Johnston
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Oklahoma
    • 1 June 1920
    ......Co., 140 Cal. 672, 74 P. 301;. People ex rel. v. Temple, 103 Cal. 447, 37 P. 414;. Scott v. Hanford, 37 Wash. 5, 79 P. 481; Kohn v. Haas, 95 Ala. 478, 12 So. 577; State v. District. Court, 38 Mont. 166, 99 P. 291, 35 L. R. A. (N. S.). 1098, 129 Am. St. Rep. 636; Johnson ......
  • Pettis v. Johnston
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Oklahoma
    • 1 June 1920
    ...Land & Inv. Co. (Cal.) 74 P. 301; People ex rel. v. Temple (Cal.) 37 P. 414; Scott v. LeBallister, 37 Wash. 5, 79 P. 481; Kohn v. Haas, 95 Ala. 478, 12 So. 577; State v. District Court, 38 Mont. 166, 99 P. 291; Johnson v. Johnson, 40 Ala. 247; Wheatland Grain & Lumber Co. v. Dowden, 26 Okla......
  • Bland v. Windsor & Cathcart
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • 14 March 1905
    ......Again, this judgment is valid under. section 672, Revised Statutes 1899 (sec. 3582, R.S. 1879). 17. Am. and Eng. Ency. of Law, 1826; Kohn v. Hoas, 95. Ala. 478; Freeman on Judgments (4 Ed.), sec. 135; Brown. v. Walker, 85 Mo. 262. The tax deed introduced in. evidence was ......
  • Smith v. Young
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Missouri (US)
    • 9 March 1909
    ...be assailed in a collateral proceeding or set aside at a future term by the same court. See Pettus v. McClennahan, 52 Ala. 55; Kohn v. Haas, 95 Ala. 478, 12 South. 577; 17 Amer. & Eng. Ency. Law, (2d Ed.) 825, 826; 15 Ency. Pl. & Pr. 237. However, where the judgment is fair on its face, as ......
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