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Personal Jurisdiction is Not a Foreign Concept

The Sixth District Court of Appeals affirmed a trial court’s denial of a request to domesticate a foreign judgment because the Court that issued the judgment never had personal jurisdiction over the defendant. XPX Armor and Equipment, Inc. (“XPX”), a North Carolina company, sued The SkyLIFE Co., Inc. (“SkyLIFE”), an Ohio company incorporated in Delaware, over a dispute regarding a distribution agreement in the Superior Court of Hoke County, North Carolina.   
XPX obtained a default judgment against SkyLIFE in North Carolina. When XPX attempted to domesticate the North Carolina judgment in Lucas County, the Court of Common Pleas denied the request because the North Carolina court did not have personal jurisdiction over SkyLIFE. The Sixth District Court of Appeals agreed with the trial court that neither general jurisdiction nor specific personal jurisdiction existed for SkyLIFE in North Carolina. SkyLIFE was not “at home” in North Carolina to be subject to general jurisdiction, and it did not have sufficient “minimum contacts” with the state for it to be subject to specific personal jurisdiction. Accordingly, the North Carolina judgment was not entitled to full faith and credit in Ohio because it was void.
This is a warning that Courts will not automatically give full faith and credit to foreign judgments that do not comply with the Constitution. A copy of the decision can be accessed here.

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