MR. JUSTICE DOUGLAS delivered the opinion of the Court.
Missouri has a statute which limits the life of a judgment to ten years after its original rendition or ten years after its revival.
Petitioner has a Colorado judgment against respondent. It was obtained 1927 and revived in Colorado
1. Petitioner sought to bring the case here by appeal. But we postponed the question of jurisdiction to the merits. Certiorari, not appeal, is the route by which the question whether or not full faith and credit has been given a foreign judgment is brought here. Roche v. McDonald, 275 U.S. 449; Morris v. Jenes, 329 U.S. 545.
2. The opinion of the Supreme Court of Missouri was handed down July 12, 1948, and the motion for rehearing or for transfer to the court en banc
3. Roche v. McDonald is dispositive of the merits. Roche had a Washington judgment against McDonald. He brought suit on that judgment in Oregon. He obtained a judgment in Oregon at a time when the original judgment had by Washington law expired and could not be revived. Roche then sued in Washington on the Oregon judgment. The Court reversed the Supreme Court of Washington which had held that full faith and credit need not be given the Oregon judgment since it would have been void and of no effect if rendered in Washington. The Court held that once the court of the sister State had jurisdiction over the parties and of the subject matter its judgment was valid and could not be impeached in the State of the forum, even though it could not have been obtained there. That decision was in line with Fauntleroy v. Lum, 210 U.S. 230 and Christmas v. Russell, 5 Wall. 290. For in those cases the Court
Any other result would defeat the aim of the Full Faith and Credit Clause and the statute enacted pursuant to it.
Cases of statute of limitations against a cause of action on a judgment (M'Elmoyle v. Cohen, 13 Pet. 312) involve
It is argued, however, that under Colorado law the 1945 Colorado judgment is not a new judgment and that the revivor did no more than extend the statutory period in which to enforce the old judgment.
This is not a situation where Colorado law also makes that conclusion plain. The Colorado authorities which
But since the status of the 1945 judgment under Colorado law was not passed upon by the Missouri court, we do not determine the question. For the same reason we do not consider whether the service on which the Colorado judgment was revived satisfied due process. See Owens v. Henry, 161 U.S. 642. Both of those questions will be open on remand of the cause.
The suggestion that we follow the course taken in Minnesota v. National Tea Co., 309 U.S. 551, and vacate the judgment and remand the cause to the Missouri court so that it may first pass on these questions would be appropriate only if it were uncertain whether that court adjudicated a federal question. That course is singularly inappropriate here since it is plain that the Missouri court held that, whatever the effect of revivor under Colorado law, the Colorado judgment was not entitled to full faith
MR. JUSTICE BLACK and MR. JUSTICE RUTLEDGE dissent.
MR. JUSTICE FRANKFURTER, dissenting.
The Court finds that Roche v. McDonald, 275 U.S. 449, is "dispositive of the merits" of this case. I agree that that case demands the remand of this one; more than that can be found only by misconceiving what this case is about or what Roche v. McDonald decided.
1. Article IV, § 1 of the Constitution commands the courts of each State to give "Full Faith and Credit . . . to the . . . judicial Proceedings of every other State," and we have interpreted this command so straitly as to mean that the State of the forum cannot go behind the judgment of a sister State to established such an allegation as that the judgment was procured by fraud, Christmas v. Russell, 5 Wall. 290, or that the judgment creditor was not the real party in interest, Titus v. Wallick, 306 U.S. 282. We have even required a State's which prohibited the enforcement of gambling contracts to give full faith and credit to another State's judgment upon such a contract when the contract itself was entered in the State which regarded it as illegal. Fauntleroy v. Lum, 210 U.S. 230. See also Kenney v. Supreme Lodge, 252 U.S. 411; Morris v. Jones, 329 U.S. 545.
2. Considerations of policy lying behind the Full Faith and Credit Clause, however, are by no means so forcibly presented where the issue is simply whether the forum must respect the limitation period attached to a foreign judgment or whether it may apply its own. This Court has accordingly held that a State may refuse to enforce
3. Conversely, where the enforcement of a judgment by State A is sought in State B, which has a longer limitation period than State A, State B is plainly free to enter its own judgment upon the basis of State A's original judgment, even though that judgment would no longer be enforceable in State A. If enforcement of State B's new judgment is then sought in State A, State A cannot refuse to enforce it without violating the principle that the State where enforcement of a judgment is sought cannot look behind the judgment. That was the situation in Roche v. McDonald, 275 U.S. 449, and so we there held.
4. The present situation is this: Colorado entered a judgment in 1927 which in 1945 was there revived in accordance with Colorado's procedure. In 1945 the 1927 judgment could not have been enforced in Missouri because barred by that State's statute of limitations. The question whether the 1945 proceedings gave rise to a judgment enforceable in Missouri thus depends, obviously, on whether those proceedings created a new Colorado judgment, or whether they merely had the effect of extending the Colorado statute of limitations on the old judgment. Only in the former case would Roche v. McDonald be "dispositive of the merits"; in the latter, it is equally clear that M'Elmoyle v. Cohen, supra, 13 Pet. 312, and Bacon v. Howard, supra, 20 How. 22, would be controlling. Fundamental, therefore, to the issue of full faith and credit is an initial determination as to the effect in Colorado of its reviver proceedings.
5. The opinion of the Supreme Court of Missouri is not unequivocal. It could hardly, however, have assumed
6. The Court does not find that petitioner has sustained this burden, and we should neither initiate an independent examination of Colorado law nor rest upon phrases in a single decision that does not explicitly adjudicate the question. Yet the Court concludes, "In this case it is the 1945 Colorado judgment that claims full faith and credit in Missouri. No Missouri statute of limitations is tendered to cut off a cause of action based on judgments of that vintage." But the very question of Colorado law in issue is whether the 1945 proceedings did in fact create a new judgment entitled to claim full faith and credit. Since in the view most favorable to petitioner it is not clear whether the courts of Missouri have resolved this issue against petitioner or left it undecided we should not by affirming foreclose all opportunity for petitioner to establish that the true effect of the reviver proceedings was to grant it a new judgment. But neither should we foreclose the issue in petitioner's favor.
In view of the unresolved elements of the situation, the procedure outlined in Minnesota v. National Tea Co., 309 U.S. 551, 557, should be followed in disposing of this case. Accordingly, I would vacate the judgment of the Supreme Court of Missouri and remand the case for further proceedings.
The Act of Congress enacted pursuant to the Clause (28 U.S.C. § 1738), in part reads as follows:
"The records and judicial proceedings of any court of any such State, Territory or Possession, or copies thereof, shall be proved or admitted in other courts within the United States and its Territories and Possessions by the attestation of the clerk and seal of the court annexed, if a seal exists, together with a certificate of a judge of the court that the said attestation is in proper form.
"Such Acts, records and judicial proceedings or copies thereof, so authenticated, shall have the same full faith and credit in every court within the United States and its Territories and Possessions as they have by law or usage in the courts of such State, Territory or Possession from which they are taken."
"Definitely, it is the law of this state that a foreign judgment, absent revival, or a payment thereon as provided in Sec. 1038, is barred in 10 years from the date of its original rendition regardless of what the limitation period may be under the law of the state where the judgment was rendered. Northwestern Brewers Supply Co. v. Vorhees [356 Mo. 699, 203 S.W.2d 422]. And the only reasonable conclusion to draw is that a revived judgment, domestic or foreign, absent a payment as provided in Sec. 1038, is barred under said section unless the revival was within 10 years from the date of original rendition or, if such is the case, within 10 years from the last revival. In other words, a foreign judgment, original or revived, has the same standing in Missouri, no better, no worse, than a domestic judgment. This does not run counter to the full faith and credit provision of the federal Constitution, because, as we have seen, the enforcement of a foreign judgment goes to the remedy only and that is a matter for the law of the forum."
Northwestern Brewers Supply Co. v. Vorhees, which the court cites, did not involve a revived judgment. It merely held that a Wisconsin judgment sued on in Missouri was subject to Missouri's statute of limitations. The fact that the Missouri court in the present case held that the revived Colorado judgment was governed by that rule throws no light on the status of the revived judgment under Colorado law.
"A revived judgment must be entered within 20 years after the entry of the judgment which it revives, and may be enforced and made a lien in the same manner and for like period as an original judgment."