Thank you for sharing!

Your article was successfully shared with the contacts you provided.
Click here for the full text of this decision FACTS:Nancy and Herbert Wolfram divorced in California in 1987. As part of the divorce, a California court ordered Herbert to pay Nancy $1,900 per month in alimony until Nancy remarried (or until a further court order). Herbert moved to Bexar County in 1990 with his new wife, Lou Ann. In 1997, Nancy petitioned the California court for an abstract of judgment and writ of execution on the unpaid balance of the California alimony payments, totaling more than $179,000. Four months after Nancy got the abstract and writ, Herbert and Lou Ann created the Herbert E. Wolfram and Lou Ann Wolfram Revocable Living Trust into which the couple transferred their assets. Herbert died in September 1999. In February 2000, Nancy filed a petition in Bexar County probate court against “Herbert Wolfram and Estate.” The petition was titled “Plaintiff’s Original Petition to Enforce Foreign Judgment” and to the petition was attached authenticated copies of the California abstract and writ. In an amended petition in October 2000, Nancy also filed authenticated copies of the original California alimony judgment and an affidavit of compliance with the Uniform Enforcement of Foreign Judgments Act. Nancy contested Lou Ann’s appointment as Herbert’s independent executor and filed a request for a temporary restraining order. Nancy then sued Lou Ann individually as trustee, alleging violations of the Uniform Fraudulent Transfer Act. Nancy and Lou Ann filed cross motions for summary judgment. The trial court denied Nancy’s and granted Lou Ann’s motion based on one of Lou Ann’s arguments: that the fraudulent transfer action was not timely. On appeal, Nancy argues that her suit is not time-barred by Civil Practice & Remedies Code 16.066(b), because it is not a suit brought to enforce a foreign judgment. Instead, she claims that because she had already brought an action on a foreign judgment (in California) and properly domesticated the judgment in Bexar County probate court, her suit is an action to enforce a valid and final Texas judgment. HOLDING:Reversed and remanded. Under the Uniform Enforcement of Foreign Judgments Act, by following the relatively simple procedure for filing an authenticated copy of a sister state judgment in a Texas court, the judgment holder can “domesticate” the foreign judgment. The filing makes the judgment the same as if it had been rendered by that Texas court. That is what Nancy did in October 2000. Therefore, if Lou Ann wished to challenge Nancy’s judgment on limitations or any other ground, she could do so only by a post-judgment motion. Lou Ann still argues, though, that Nancy did not domesticate the California alimony judgment through her filings in probate court, because she did not follow the requirements of the UEFJA. In particular, Lou Ann faults Nancy for bringing suit against “Estate of Herbert E. Wolfram,” a legal non-entity. The court agrees that it is generally a mistake to name an “estate” as the party to a suit. Nevertheless, in what the court calls a case of first impression, it finds there should be an exception to this rule when filing a judgment under the UEFJA. First of all, the UEFJA does not specify a party against whom the filing must be made. The judgment creditor (plaintiff) need only file an authenticated copy of the foreign judgment with the court clerk of any court of competent jurisdiction in Texas. The finality of the judgment is instantaneous upon filing, so a challenge to the judgment must be done through a collateral attack based on certain deficiencies. Texas case law has compared the filing of a foreign judgment under the UEFJA to the entry of a no-answer default judgment. Applying such principles, while it can be argued that Nancy made a mistake in whom she named as a party, Lou Ann was nonetheless fully cognizant of the facts at all times and could not have been misled as to the basis of the suit. “Under these facts and conditions, we are of the opinion that it would be a misapplication of the law to allow Lou Ann to raise [her] argument on appeal. The policy underlying the Uniform Enforcement of Foreign Judgments Act is one designed to prevent judgment debtors from using state boundaries to escape payment of their adjudicated obligations. . . . To this end, it is necessary that the Uniform Act and associated case law governing judgments be interpreted in a manner to promote the policy of the Act and to further the constitutional mandate that a state give full faith and credit to judgments rendered by its sister states.” Consequently, the trial court erred in granting summary judgment for Lou Ann based on the statute of limitations. OPINION:Karen Angelini, J.; Green, Angelini and Marion, JJ.

Want to continue reading?
Become a Free ALM Digital Reader.

Benefits of a Digital Membership:

  • Free access to 1 article* every 30 days
  • Access to the entire ALM network of websites
  • Unlimited access to the ALM suite of newsletters
  • Build custom alerts on any search topic of your choosing
  • Search by a wide range of topics

*May exclude premium content
Already have an account?


ALM Legal Publication Newsletters

Sign Up Today and Never Miss Another Story.

As part of your digital membership, you can sign up for an unlimited number of a wide range of complimentary newsletters. Visit your My Account page to make your selections. Get the timely legal news and critical analysis you cannot afford to miss. Tailored just for you. In your inbox. Every day.

Copyright © 2021 ALM Media Properties, LLC. All Rights Reserved.