In our interconnected world, it is becoming increasingly common for people to do business with entities in other states and even other countries. Occasionally, problems end up in lawsuits in foreign courts. If you have successfully won a favorable verdict in a different state or country’s court and want to have it enforced in your home state, you will need to bring that judgment through a process known as domestication.
A different state’s judgment
The United States Constitution has a clause at Article IV, Section 1, that is commonly known as the Full Faith and Credit Clause. It requires state courts to recognize and enforce final judgments that come from courts in different states.
In addition, most states, including Florida, have signed on to the Uniform Enforcement of Foreign Judgments Act. This Act allows someone with a valid judgment from one state to file it with a court in a different state in order to have it enforced in that new state.
If you want your out-of-state judgment domesticated into your state, you can hire an attorney to file it with the proper office in your state’s proper court, and the judgment will come into effect in your state as if it had been decided by the court there.
A foreign country’s judgment
Unlike a state’s judgment, American courts are not bound to recognize judgments from courts in other countries. This doesn’t mean that they never do recognize them, however.
When deciding whether to enforce a foreign country’s judgment, your court will likely examine the circumstances surrounding how the foreign court carried out the trial. If the judge feels that all parties received due process, were fairly represented, had an adequate chance to advocate their positions and there was no evidence of improper procedure, then it’s likely that they will recognize the judgment.
It can be expensive and stressful to litigate a lawsuit in a different state or country. Once you’ve been through that, you can rest assured that you won’t have to relitigate the same case in your own state’s courts in order for it to have an effect where you live.