Legal Memorandum: Vacating a Foreign Judgment

Issue: When is a New Mexico judgment void and not recognized under Minnesota law?

Area of Law: Litigation & Procedure
Keywords: Vacating a foreign judgment; Void; Personal jurisdiction
Jurisdiction: Minnesota, New Mexico
Cited Cases: 670 P.2d 974; 389 N.W.2d 751; 88 N.M. 532; 252 N.W.2d 105; 654 P.2d 582; 538 N.W.2d 489; 398 N.W.2d 85; 310 N.W.2d 502; 984 P.2d 803; 333 N.W.2d 862; 471 U.S. 462
Cited Statutes: N.M. Stat. § 38-1-16; N.M. Stat.. § 38-1-16 (1) (1999)
Date: 10/01/2000

A judgment is void if the court lacks jurisdiction over either the subject matter or the parties.  Matson v. Matson, 310 N.W.2d 502, 506 (Minn. 1981), appeal after remand, 333 N.W.2d 862 (Minn. 1983).  A court does not have discretion in choosing whether to vacate a judgment which is void.  In fact, a defending party need not show that it has a meritorious defense or that due diligence in seeking relief has been exercised when there is a void judgment, as it would be required to do if seeking relief from judgment for any other reason.  Hengel v. Hyatt, 312 Minn. 317, 252 N.W.2d 105, 106 (1977); Mesenbourg v. Mesenbourg, 538 N.W.2d 489, 493-94 (Minn. Ct. App. 1995). 

A Minnesota court must be more cautious in vacating a foreign judgment,  Matson v. Matson, 333 N.W.2d 862, 505-06 (Minn. 1983).  In United Bank of Skyline, Nat’l Ass’n v. Fales, 395 N.W.2d 131, 132 (Minn. Ct. App. 1986), aff’d, 405 N.W.2d 416 (Minn. 1987), the court held that Rule 60.02 may not be used to vacate a foreign judgment if the judgment was not appealed in the state of its rendition.  However, that holding only applies in situations with facts similar to those in United Bank.  In short, only if a party defends an action in a foreign court, and fails to appeal the judgment, can it be prevented from using Rule 60.02 […]

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