Topham v. L. L. B. Corp.

Decision Date16 April 1973
Citation493 S.W.2d 461
CourtTennessee Supreme Court

Monte D. Curry, Nashville, for appellant.

David B. Herbert, Nashville, for appellee.


McCANLESS, Justice.

The appellee, L.L.B. Corporation, brought suit in Utah on a contractual debt held by appellee against the appellant, Karl Topham. Since the appellant had removed himself to Tennessee, the service of process was issued and sent to Tennessee under the Utah Long Arm Statute. On or about November 29, 1971, the Sheriff of Davidson County received the summons, and his Deputy served it upon the appellant. At the time of service the Deputy did not endorse upon the copy of the summons left with the appellant either his name or the date on which process was served. Upon learning of his mistake, the Deputy returned 'two or three days later' and endorsed the appellant's copy with the date originally served and his name and official title. A copy of the summons was mailed from the Sheriff's office to Salt Lake City on December 3, 1971. A default judgment was granted the appellee by the Utah court, and was duly certified and sent to Tennessee. The appellee brought suit on the foreign judgment in the Circuit Court of Davidson County where a motion for summary judgment on behalf of the appellee was sustained resulting in a judgment of $2,254.25 in favor of the appellee. From this judgment the appellant perfected his appeal to this Court assigning as error:

(1) that the trial court erred in its interpretation of Utah law relative to the strictness required in the service of process under its long arm statute and that proper application of the law shows that the Utah judgment was void for lack of jurisdiction; and

(2) that the Tennessee Circuit Court erred in awarding eight percent (8%) interest on the judgment as the note and the original complaint in the State of Utah called for sic percent (6%) interest per annum.

If the court which rendered a judgment has no jurisdiction over the person or subject matter of the action, the judgment is a nullity and not entitled to recognition and enforcement in a sister state. Clouse v. Clouse, 185 Tenn. 666, 207 S.W.2d 576 (1948).

Furthermore the judgment of a court of a sister state is always open to inquiry as to the jurisdiction of the court rendering it. Milliken v. Meyer, 311 U.S. 457, 61 S.Ct. 339, 85 L.Ed. 278, 132 A.L.R. 1357 (1940).

With respect to the service of process on non-residents, Section 78--27--25 of the Utah Code provides that service of process on any party outside the state may be made pursuant to the applicable provisions of Rule 4 of the Utah Rules of Civil Procedure.

Rule 4(j) of the Utah Rules of Civil Procedure provides:

'At the time of service, the person making such service shall endorse upon the copy of the summons left for the person being served, the date upon which the same was served, and shall sign his name thereto, and, if an officer, add his official title.'

The appellant maintains that strict adherence to the express language of the statute is required and relies upon the recent Utah decision of Rees v. Scott, 8 Utah 2d 134, 329 P.2d 877 (1958). The defendant in the Rees case urged that the omission of the date was inconsequential relying upon Rule 61, Utah Rules of Civil Procedure, which provides that: 'The court at every...

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10 cases
  • Four Seasons Gardening & Landscaping, Inc. v. Crouch
    • United States
    • Tennessee Court of Appeals
    • December 19, 1984
    ...the judgment did not have personal jurisdiction over the party against whom the judgment is sought to be enforced. Topham v. L.L.B. Corp., 493 S.W.2d 461, 462 (Tenn.1973) and Benham v. Fisher, 650 S.W.2d 759, 760 Based upon our review of this record, we have determined that Mr. Crouch faile......
  • Tareco Properties, Inc. v. Morriss, No. M2002-02950-COA-R3-CV (TN 11/18/2004)
    • United States
    • Tennessee Supreme Court
    • November 18, 2004
    ...where the court rendering the judgment lacked subject matter jurisdiction or personal jurisdiction over the parties. Topham v. L.L.B. Corp., 493 S.W.2d 461, 462 (Tenn. 1973); Hart, 10 S.W.3d at 269; Biogen Distributors, 842 S.W.2d at 256. In that situation, the foreign judgment is void and ......
  • Emerson Realty Group, Inc. v. Schanze
    • United States
    • Florida District Court of Appeals
    • November 29, 1990
    ...v. 0'Brien, 25 Ariz.App. 50, 540 P.2d 1269 (Ariz.App.1975), modified, 25 Ariz.App. 551, 545 P.2d 62 (Ariz.App.1975); Topham v. L.L.B. Corp., 493 S.W.2d 461 (Tenn.1973). Dismissal is patently improper where the purpose of the proposed amendment is merely to correct the name, and not to subst......
  • Biogen Distributors, Inc. v. Tanner
    • United States
    • Tennessee Court of Appeals
    • September 2, 1992
    ...a foreign judgment are when the court entering the foreign judgment had no personal or subject matter jurisdiction, Topham v. L.L.B. Corp., 493 S.W.2d 461, 462 (Tenn.1973); Benham v. Fisher, 650 S.W.2d 759, 760 (Tenn.Ct.App.1983), and when enforcing the judgment would be contrary to Tenness......
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