Marworth, Inc. v. McGuire, 90SC80

Docket NºNo. 90SC80
Citation810 P.2d 653
Case DateMay 06, 1991
CourtSupreme Court of Colorado

Page 653

810 P.2d 653
MARWORTH, INC., Petitioner,
v.
Eugene F. McGUIRE and Gary T. Cornwell, Respondents.
No. 90SC80.
Supreme Court of Colorado,
En Banc.
May 6, 1991.

Page 654

Jorge E. Castillo, P.C., Jorge E. Castillo, Denver, for petitioner.

Vanatta, Sullan and Sandgrund, P.C., Scott F. Sullan, Ronald M. Sandgrund, Englewood, for respondents.

Justice VOLLACK delivered the Opinion of the Court.

Marworth, Inc. (Marworth), petitions this court for a review of the court of appeals' reversal of the trial court's ruling that full faith and credit principles prevented an inquiry into the merits of the Texas judgment. Marworth, Inc. v. McGuire, 787 P.2d 200 (Colo.App.1989). We reverse.

I.

In January 1983, McGuire, Kearns & Cornwell (MK & C) entered into an oral agreement with the Texas law firm of Farnsworth & Martin (F & M). The agreement provided that F & M would provide its expertise in tax and mineral law to MK & C's clients and in exchange MK & C would pay F & M a percentage of the fees. The firms collaborated on a number of cases until disputes arose concerning the payment of fees. F & M claimed that MK & C had guaranteed payment of its fees. MK & C responded that it was obligated to pay F & M's fees only when payment had been made to MK & C by the common client. F & M assigned its claims against MK & C to Marworth.

Marworth filed suit in Texas against MK & C and the individual partners to recover payment for services rendered to MK & C's clients. The defendants in the Texas case were MK & C's partners as individuals and the partnership. The partnership and the individual partners filed a general denial to the complaint. The individual partners did not deny that a valid partnership existed. A jury trial was held in the Texas district court on February 3 and 4, 1986. Prior to the close of Marworth's case-in-chief, the following discussion was held between counsel and the court pertaining to the liability of the individual partners:

THE COURT: Okay. You can bind the other members of the partnership. There's not any question about that. What he's saying is you can't bind the other members of the partnership individually in individual liability, unless you're going to have direct testimony from each one of them, you've got some kind of statements from them that they are going to be liable.

MR. NEVARES: I see what you're saying, Your Honor.

The COURT: You know, one partner can bind the partnership. He can't bind them individually for their individual liability.

As a result of this discussion, Marworth stipulated that "it will agree to only make liable the individual of Gregory Kearns and the partnership of McGuire, Kearns and Cornwell." Immediately after the colloquy pertaining to the liability of the individual partners, Cornwell testified that his understanding of the agreement between the firms was that MK & C was not obligated to pay F & M until MK & C was paid by the common client. McGuire did not appear or testify at the trial because of a schedule conflict. Kearns was present at the trial, but elected not to testify. At the close of all the evidence, the court dismissed

Page 655

Kearns from the lawsuit. The case was submitted to the jury solely with respect to the issue of the liability of the partnership. The jury found that the parties had entered into an express oral contract; that the agreement made MK & C responsible for the services provided; and that the agreement obligated MK & C to pay for F & M's services notwithstanding the fact that funds had not been received by MK & C from its clients. Marworth proposed a judgment imposing liability on the partnership and each partner individually. The court rejected this proposal and entered a judgment imposing liability on the partnership only.

Marworth appealed to the Texas Court of Appeals, requesting that the judgment be modified to impose joint and several liability on the individual partners. Kearns, McGuire and Cornwell participated in the appeal. The Texas Court of Appeals examined the stipulation and concluded that it involved a question of law and was not binding on the court. The court held that the existence of the partnership was deemed admitted and applied the Texas Uniform Partnership Act 1 which states that "all partners are liable jointly and severally for all debts and obligations of the partnership." On this basis, the court modified the judgment to include McGuire, Kearns, and Cornwell, jointly and severally. A motion for rehearing was filed in the Texas Court of Appeals by MK & C and the partners individually. The petition for rehearing failed to raise any issues concerning respondents' alleged deprivation of due process. The court denied the motion for rehearing. Respondents then petitioned the Texas Supreme Court for a writ of error. Respondents claimed that the court of appeals erred in not enforcing the stipulation, but again did not raise any issues concerning the alleged violation of their due process rights. The Texas Supreme Court refused the writ of error on June 3, 1987. A motion for rehearing was denied on November 10, 1987.

On February 8, 1988, Marworth filed an authenticated copy of the Texas judgment in the Denver District Court pursuant to the Colorado Uniform Enforcement of Foreign Judgments Act (UEFJA). 2 McGuire and Cornwell filed a motion to dismiss the petition to domesticate the foreign judgment and a motion for leave to set an evidentiary hearing and oral argument. The court held a hearing on the motion to dismiss, and denied the motion to set an evidentiary hearing. Oral argument on the motion to dismiss was held on June 7, 1988. In support of their motion, McGuire and Cornwell argued that the Texas judgment had been obtained through perjury and a violation of their due process rights. The trial court denied the motion to dismiss on the basis that it did not have the power to inquire into the merits of the judgment because of the full faith and credit clause. McGuire and Cornwell appealed the trial court's decision to the Colorado Court of Appeals.

The Colorado Court of Appeals reversed and remanded the trial court's ruling for further findings. The court of appeals directed the trial court to determine whether McGuire and Cornwell waived their argument alleging a violation of their due process rights and whether McGuire and Cornwell should be granted relief from judgment pursuant to C.R.C.P. 60.

II.

We begin our discussion with a review of the full faith and credit clause.

Under article IV, section 1, of the United States Constitution, the final judgments and public acts of one state must be given full faith and credit in every other state. Tucker v. Vista Fin. Corp., 192 Colo. 440, 442, 560 P.2d 453, 455 (1977); Hansen v. Pingenot, 739 P.2d 911, 912 (Colo.App.1987); see also Underwriter's Nat'l Assurance Co. v. North Carolina Life and Accident and Health Ins. Guar. Ass'n, 455 U.S. 691, 704, 102 S.Ct. 1357, 1365, 71 L.Ed.2d 558 (1982); Durfee v.

Page 656

Duke, 375 U.S. 106, 109, 84 S.Ct. 242, 244, 11 L.Ed.2d 186 (1963). The United States Supreme Court has held that full faith and credit "generally requires every State to give a judgment at least the res judicata effect which the judgment would be accorded in the State which rendered it." Durfee, 375 U.S. at 109, 84 S.Ct. at 244; see also Morris v. Jones, 329 U.S. 545, 553, 67...

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20 practice notes
  • City of Oakland v. Desert Outdoor Advertising, Inc., 53973.
    • United States
    • Nevada Supreme Court of Nevada
    • 4 d4 Agosto d4 2011
    ...Executions and Enforcement of Judgments § 787 (2005); see also Rosenstein, 103 Nev. at 573, 747 P.2d at 232; Marworth, Inc. v. McGuire, 810 P.2d 653, 656 (Colo.1991); Wooster v. Wooster, 399 N.W.2d 330, 333 (S.D.1987) (quoting Baldwin v. Heinold Commodities Inc., 363 N.W.2d 191, 194 (S.D.19......
  • Nader v. Serody, 09–CV–906.
    • United States
    • District of Columbia Court of Appeals of Columbia District
    • 10 d4 Maio d4 2012
    ...raise.” Data Mgmt. Sys., Inc. v. EDP Corp., 709 P.2d 377, 381 (Utah 1985) (emphasis added); see Marworth, Inc. v. McGuire, 810 P.2d 653, 657 (Colo.1991) (“Most states have interpreted these restrictions to mean that the UEFJA may not create defenses to a foreign judgment that violate the fu......
  • Threatt v. Winston, 04-CV-191.
    • United States
    • District of Columbia Court of Appeals of Columbia District
    • 21 d4 Setembro d4 2006
    ...an independent action in Arizona under Rule 60 to attack a default judgment rendered in Massachusetts); Marworth, Inc. v. McGuire, 810 P.2d 653, 656 (Colo.1991) (relief from foreign judgments available under Colo. R. Civ. P. 60(b)); Arrowhead Alternator, Inc. v. CIT Communications Finance C......
  • Nastro v. D'ONOFRIO, (AC 22941).
    • United States
    • Appellate Court of Connecticut
    • 20 d2 Maio d2 2003
    ...recorded." (Internal quotation marks omitted.) Carr v. Bett, 291 Mont. 326, 339, 970 P.2d 1017 (1998); see also Marworth, Inc. v. McGuire, 810 P.2d 653, 656-57 (Colo. 1991); Matson v. Matson, supra, 867; Rosenstein v. Steele, 103 Nev. 571, 573, 747 P.2d 230 (1987); Conglis v. Radcliffe, 119......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
20 cases
  • City of Oakland v. Desert Outdoor Advertising, Inc., 53973.
    • United States
    • Nevada Supreme Court of Nevada
    • 4 d4 Agosto d4 2011
    ...Executions and Enforcement of Judgments § 787 (2005); see also Rosenstein, 103 Nev. at 573, 747 P.2d at 232; Marworth, Inc. v. McGuire, 810 P.2d 653, 656 (Colo.1991); Wooster v. Wooster, 399 N.W.2d 330, 333 (S.D.1987) (quoting Baldwin v. Heinold Commodities Inc., 363 N.W.2d 191, 194 (S.D.19......
  • Nader v. Serody, 09–CV–906.
    • United States
    • District of Columbia Court of Appeals of Columbia District
    • 10 d4 Maio d4 2012
    ...raise.” Data Mgmt. Sys., Inc. v. EDP Corp., 709 P.2d 377, 381 (Utah 1985) (emphasis added); see Marworth, Inc. v. McGuire, 810 P.2d 653, 657 (Colo.1991) (“Most states have interpreted these restrictions to mean that the UEFJA may not create defenses to a foreign judgment that violate the fu......
  • Threatt v. Winston, 04-CV-191.
    • United States
    • District of Columbia Court of Appeals of Columbia District
    • 21 d4 Setembro d4 2006
    ...an independent action in Arizona under Rule 60 to attack a default judgment rendered in Massachusetts); Marworth, Inc. v. McGuire, 810 P.2d 653, 656 (Colo.1991) (relief from foreign judgments available under Colo. R. Civ. P. 60(b)); Arrowhead Alternator, Inc. v. CIT Communications Finance C......
  • Nastro v. D'ONOFRIO, (AC 22941).
    • United States
    • Appellate Court of Connecticut
    • 20 d2 Maio d2 2003
    ...recorded." (Internal quotation marks omitted.) Carr v. Bett, 291 Mont. 326, 339, 970 P.2d 1017 (1998); see also Marworth, Inc. v. McGuire, 810 P.2d 653, 656-57 (Colo. 1991); Matson v. Matson, supra, 867; Rosenstein v. Steele, 103 Nev. 571, 573, 747 P.2d 230 (1987); Conglis v. Radcliffe, 119......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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