Under the United States Constitution, a judgment obtained in one state is to be given full faith
and credit in other states of the United States. Article 4, Section 1 of the Constitution states:
“...full faith and credit shall be given in each State of the public acts, records, and judicial
proceedings of every other State. And the Congress may by general laws prescribe that manner
in which such acts, records, and proceedings shall be proved, and the effect thereof.”
However, this does not mean that a judgment of one state can automatically be enforced
in another state.
Enforcement of Judgments Across State Lines
Generally, judgments across state lines can be enforced in one of two ways:
1. A new law suit may be filed based on the judgment.
2. Alternatively, in those states that have adopted the Uniform Enforcement of Foreign
Judgments Act (the Act), a foreign judgment (defined as a judgment of any state or federal
court) may be registered by filing an exemplified copy of the foreign judgment with the
appropriate office of the Court and notifying the debtor of the filing.
An exemplified judgment is a copy of the judgment to which a certificate has been attached and signed
in three places, once by the judge and twice by the clerk, attesting to the authenticity and validity of
the judgment. It is frequently called a judgment that has been authenticated pursuant to an Act of
Congress. The Act sets forth the technical procedure that must be followed to register the judgment.
A judgment that has been registered is viewed as a judgment issued out of the Court in which
the foreign judgment was filed and all local enforcement procedures would be available to the
creditor. A word of caution–the Act is not uniform in all states. Some states, such as
New York and Connecticut, will not allow the registration of a default judgment in which case
a new law suit must be filed to enforce the judgment.
These are general guidelines. And you should consult local counsel to help you. But this should put you on the right path. In New York the procedure is to file a "Motion in Lieu of Complaint" based on the foreign judgment, properly authenticated, and served upon your adversary in advance. See, New York's CPLR (Civil Practice Law and Rules Article 54)
Section 5401. Definition.
5402. Filing and status of foreign judgments.
(b) Status of foreign judgments.
5403. Notice of filing.
(a) Based upon security in foreign jurisdiction.
(b) Based upon other grounds.
5406. Optional procedure.
5407. Uniformity of interpretation.
S 5401. Definition. In this article "foreign judgment" means any
judgment, decree, or order of a court of the United States or of any
other court which is entitled to full faith and credit in this state,
except one obtained by default in appearance, or by confession of
S 5402. Filing and status of foreign judgments. (a) Filing. A copy of
any foreign judgment authenticated in accordance with an act of congress
or the statutes of this state may be filed within ninety days of the
date of authentication in the office of any county clerk of the state.
The judgment creditor shall file with the judgment an affidavit stating
that the judgment was not obtained by default in appearance or by
confession of judgment, that it is unsatisfied
Take a look at the entire text on www.findlaw.com