A new Arizona business law judgment should be viewed as a significant new chapter in the annals of interstate litigation.
What is the new Arizona business law? If you live in another state and want to enforce a judgment on someone in Arizona, make sure every administrative “T” is crossed and “I” is dotted in your jurisdiction. Why? Because recently an Arizona appeals bench ruled that in order to impose a ruling on an individual or business in the Grand Canyon State, all procedures in the originating state must be followed exactly.
Texas Plaintiff Wants To Enforce Summary Judgment In Arizona
Earlier in the year, Hillcrest Bank – a Texas-based business – brought a claim against Mr. Richard J. Sodja of Phoenix, AZ. Presumably, the latter had engaged in business with the former. The case went down in Texas and Hillcrest won, but the defendant never showed.
When someone in Texas wants to sue an entity in another state, it must go through the Texas Secretary of State who forwards a petition and citation to the appropriate party. As such, Hillcrest took their case to the appropriate party in order to inform Sodja in Arizona.
How The Texas Bank Served Notice To The Arizona Plaintiff
In the case of Hillcrest v. Sodja, the Texas Secretary of State sent the service notice to an Arizona address listed on Hillcrest’s petition. It was the address of Sodja’s out-of-home office. After the prescribed amount of time passed, and the Texas party hadn’t received an acknowledgement or response from Sodja, a judge granted a summary default ruling in favor of the bank. In order to get their bucks, after receiving the favorable judgment, Hillcrest filed a notice with the Maricopa Superior Court to enforce the ruling. At that time, Sodja moved to void the judgment, but the trial judge sided with the bank. After that, Sodja appealed.
Arizona Appeals Court Says “Sorry, But The Paperwork Was Incorrect, So Jurisdiction Is In Question.”
Unlike the trial court, however, the Arizona appeals court agreed with the defendant. Judge Margaret Downie penned the court’s opinion. In her decision she acknowledged, “The Full Faith and Credit Clause of the United States Constitution requires Arizona Courts to respect and enforce judgments rendered in court of their sister states.” But not required to if there is a question of jurisdiction in the original case.
The question of jurisdiction was an important one in Sodja’s case.
According to Texas law, “a statement of the name and address of the non-resident’s home or home office” must be included in a proper service notice. The problem for Hillcrest Bank is that the petition addressed to Sodja had to be sent to his home or home-office in order to be valid.
It wasn’t. It was sent to his out-of-home office on Camelback Road. Due to the incorrect address, technically speaking, Texas failed to assert proper jurisdiction over Sodja by denying proper due process. As such, Downie and the court reasoned that the motion to enforce the judgment against Sodja was invalid.
Speak With An Arizona Business Lawyer Today
The law is just as technical as it is analytical. That is why it is important to have an experienced lawyer handle matters, as not doing so could cost you more in the long run. If you have a business law matter dealing with Arizona courts, and are in need of an Arizona attorney, contact Kelly Warner Law.