Taracorp, Ltd. v. Dailey

Decision Date24 April 2018
Docket NumberCase Number: 115383
Citation419 P.3d 217
Parties TARACORP, LTD., Tara Barlean, and Kelly Barlean, Plaintiffs/Appellants, v. Jeff DAILEY And A.J.'s Bargain World, d/b/a Bargain World, Defendants/Appellees.
CourtOklahoma Supreme Court

Reynolds Ridings, Jason McCart, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, for Plaintiffs/Appellants.

Jeffrey S. Landgraf, Madill, Oklahoma, for Defendants/Appellees.

KAUGER, J.:

¶1 We retained this cause to address the dispositive issue of whether a Colorado judgment, which is enforceable in Colorado for twenty years after the judgment is entered, is also enforceable in Oklahoma when the first attempt is abandoned and it is re-filed after Oklahoma's five year limitation period lapsed. We hold that when a judgment creditor seeks to enforce a Colorado judgment a second time in Oklahoma, after Oklahoma's limitation period has lapsed on the original judgment, the underlying original Colorado judgment which is enforceable for twenty years may be enforced in Oklahoma.

FACTS

¶2 On June 4, 2007, the District Court of Logan County, Colorado, granted the plaintiffs/appellants, Taracorp, LTD., and Tara and Kelly Barlean (collectively, Taracorp) a default judgment against the defendants/appellees, Jeff Dailey d/b/a A.J.'s Bargain World (collectively Dailey). The lawsuit apparently stemmed from Taracorp's allegations that Dailey breached a fiduciary duty and defrauded Taracorp by witholding inventory, skimming inventory, and wrongfully converting money given to them from Taracorp to broker inventory of salvaged merchandise. The Colorado Court awarded Taracorp $76,200.00 in damages, $76,200.00 in exemplary damages, and costs of $391.00 which totaled $152,791.00.

¶3 Three days later, on June 7, 2007, Taracorp filed the Colorado judgment in the District Court of Pottawatomie County, Oklahoma, Case No. C-07-659. Taracorp is located in Sterling, Colorado, and Dailey resided in Pottawatomie County, Oklahoma in 2007. The filing sought to impose a lien on real estate of the judgment debtors pursuant to 12 O.S. 2001 § 706.1 On July 27, 2007, Taracorp filed an Application to Require Judgment Debtor to Answer Assets. A court minute filed September 6, 2007, reflects that a hearing on assets was scheduled, but stricken because neither party appeared. The September 6, 2007, court minute is the last docket entry in that case.

¶4 Approximately nine years later, on May 23, 2016, Taracorp re-filed the 2007 Colorado judgment in the District Court of Marshall County, Oklahoma. Apparently, Dailey, now resides in Marshall County, Oklahoma. On June 8, 2016, Dailey filed a Motion to Quash Filing of Foreign Judgment, arguing that it was not enforceable pursuant to 12 O.S. 2011 § 735 because five years had lapsed from the 2007 date when the Colorado judgment was entered.2 Dailey also relied upon our decision in Drllevich Construction, Inc. v. Stock, 1998 OK 39, 958 P.2d 1277, which provides that an out-of-state judgment is enforceable in Oklahoma when it is filed in Oklahoma.

¶5 Taracorp argues that because Colorado Revised Statutes 13-52-102 allows a judgment entered in a District Court of the State of Colorado to be enforced for up to twenty years after the date of issuance, the motion to quash must be denied.3 Taracorp also relied on the published Court of Civil Appeals opinion of Yorkshire West Capital, Inc. v. Rodman, 2006 OK CIV APP 152, 149 P.3d 1088 as persuasive authority in support of its argument.4 Yorkshire held that nothing prevented the re-filing a second time in Oklahoma as long as the foreign judgment remained valid and enforceable in the original state.

¶6 After an August 3, 2016, hearing, the trial court filed an order on August 31, 2016, granting Dailey's motion to quash the Colorado judgment. Taracorp appealed on September 23, 2016, and on July 6, 2017, the Court of Civil Appeals vacated the trial court's order which had quashed the Colorado judgment and remanded the cause for further proceedings. We granted certiorari on December 11, 2017.

¶7 THE COLORADO JUDGMENT IS ENFORCEABLE IN OKLAHOMA AS LONG AS IT IS ENFORCEABLE IN COLORADO.

¶8 Dailey argues that once a domesticated foreign judgment has become unenforceable due to dormancy and the lapse of five years, it cannot become enforceable by merely refiling the same judgment in another Oklahoma district court. Taracorp argues that as long as the Colorado judgment remains valid and enforceable in Colorado, it can be filed in Oklahoma regardless of whether it is only filed once or re-filed a second time.

¶9 The Uniform Enforcement of Foreign Judgments Act (the Act) 12 O.S. 2011 §§ 719 - 726, governs judgments issued in another state and then filed in Oklahoma for purposes of execution/collection.5 The Act provides that such judgments, once filed in Oklahoma, are treated the same as if they were initially issued in Oklahoma.6 While the Act requires construction to effectuate uniformity and conformity to its general purpose, it does not address re-filing of judgments.7

¶10 Initially, we addressed the filing of such judgments in Oklahoma in FirstofDenverMortg. Investors v. Riggs, 1984 OK 36, 692 P.2d 1358. Riggs involved a judgment creditor who obtained a money judgment against a judgment debtor in Colorado on January 20, 1977. The judgment creditor filed the Colorado judgment in Oklahoma County, Oklahoma, on October 17, 1977. Subsequently, the judgment debtor made a partial payment and the creditor executed a partial release, but no writ of execution was ever issued on the Oklahoma filing.

¶11 Five years later, the judgment creditor re-filed the Colorado judgment in Oklahoma County, Oklahoma, on December 31, 1982. The judgment debtor sought to quash the judgment, arguing that the re-filing did not revive the judgment, which had been dormant after five years pursuant to Oklahoma's dormancy statute, 12 O.S. 2011 § 735.8 The Riggs Court held that the rendition of judgment in the originating forum state starts the dormancy period running when the Act is brought into play. The Act in Oklahoma gives the foreign judgment the same effect as a judgment of this state. Consequently, the Colorado judgment, filed in Oklahoma, was to be treated as if it were rendered in Oklahoma on the same date it was rendered in Colorado. Under the facts of Riggs, the judgment became dormant in January of 1982.

¶12 Riggs, supra, did not remain the law for long. Five years later, in DrllevichConstruction, Inc. v. Stock, 1998 OK 39, 958 P.2d 1277, we overruled Riggs, supra, noting that it was a minority view. Although Drllevich did not involve a second filing attempt in Oklahoma, it did concern a construction company which attempted to enforce a Washington state judgment in Oklahoma nearly ten years after the judgment was entered. The Washington judgment was rendered on November 14, 1985, as a result of an embezzlement case. Nearly ten years later, on July 6, 1995, the judgment debtor was served with a "Notice of Filing of Foreign Judgment" via certified mail.

¶13 In overruling Riggs, supra, we said in ¶ 10-12:

¶10 Riggs' approach places its only real emphasis on the judgment's date of rendition in the originating state. Any ability to enforce the judgment in the state of origin plays no role in the ability to register the judgment for enforcement in Oklahoma under Riggs . This lack of focus on the original judgment's enforceability is not a universally shared approach. In fact, Oklahoma's position is a minority one.
¶ 11 The Uniform Enforcement of Foreign Judgments Act "shall be interpreted and construed as to effectuate its general purpose to make uniform the law of those states which enact it." 12 O.S. 1991 § 726. Oklahoma's minority position is such that it does not achieve the purpose expressly outlined in § 726, "to make uniform the law of those states which enact it." In addition, the current interpretation of the law under Riggs provides a framework within which judgment debtors may be able to shield themselves from legitimate judgments, simply by making Oklahoma their home.
¶ 12 We can find nothing in Oklahoma's Uniform Enforcement of Foreign Judgments Act or any other enactments of our Legislature indicating this is a public policy either adopted or encouraged by our state. In an effort to achieve the goals of § 726 and provide a framework within which legitimate judgments may be executed upon in a timely manner, Riggs' limited and unwavering focus on the judgment's rendition in the originating state must be reconsidered.

¶14 The Court relied on the Utah Supreme Court's decision in PanEnergy v. Martin, 813 P.2d 1142 (Utah 1991) to illustrate the rationale that foreign judgments should be treated as local judgments once they have been filed with the clerk of a district court. Once filed, the foreign judgment is subject to the same procedures to attack or enforce it as a local judgment. The filing of a foreign judgment creates a new local judgment which is governed by the local statute of limitations. Because the Drllevich construction company registered the November 14, 1985, Washington judgment in Oklahoma on July 6, 1995, within ten years of the original judgment,9 the Washington judgment was as enforceable as if it had been rendered as an Oklahoma judgment on July 6, 1995.

¶15 PanEnergy, supra, involved a 1982 judgment rendered in Oklahoma and filed in Utah in August of 1987. Pursuant to 12 O.S. 1991 § 735,10 the Oklahoma judgment lapsed after five years. In August of 1987, one month before the Oklahoma judgment became dormant, the plaintiff filed the Oklahoma judgment in Utah. Because the judgment subsequently became unenforceable in Oklahoma, the judgment debtor sought to prevent enforcement in Utah. The Utah Supreme Court held that if a foreign judgment is filed in Utah, and subsequently becomes dormant in the state of rendition, its enforceability in Utah is unaffected.

¶16 While the policies supporting both the Drllevich, supra, and PanEnergy, supra, remain persuasive, neither case is wholly...

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