CHARLESTON – The state Supreme Court has refused to grant full faith and credit to a default judgment obtained against a West Virginia resident in an Illinois court.
The unanimous memorandum opinion was issued by the Court on April 12.
Mallard Trace Condominiums, LLC obtained a default judgment against Lisa A. Bryant in Cook County, Ill. The underlying matter was a contract wherein Bryant agreed to purchase an apartment building located in Logan County.
The closing on the property was to take place in West Virginia and Bryant is a West Virginia resident.
After Mallard Trace obtained a default judgment against Bryant, they recorded the foreign judgment and filed a suggestion and writ of execution in Logan County. Bryant responded by filing a Motion to Quash Writ of Execution in the Circuit Court of Logan County.
The circuit court concluded that the Illinois court had lacked both personal and subject matter jurisdiction and, therefore, the circuit court quashed the writ of execution. Mallard Trace then appealed to the state Supreme Court.
“In reviewing challenges to the findings and conclusions of a circuit court, we apply a three-pronged standard of review. The final order and the ultimate disposition are reviewed under an abuse of discretion standard, the underlying factual findings are reviewed under a clearly erroneous standard, and questions of law are subject to de novo review,” the opinion states.
“In its first assignment of error, petitioner argues that the circuit court should have granted full faith and credit to the Illinois default judgment. However, after a careful review of the petitioner’s brief and the record on appeal, we conclude that the motion to quash was properly granted.
“The underlying matter was a contract wherein respondent agreed to purchase an apartment building situate in Logan County, West Virginia. The closing was to take place in West Virginia, and respondent is a West Virginia resident. We agree with the circuit court’s conclusion that the State of Illinois had insufficient contacts both with the respondent and the contract such that the Illinois court had neither personal nor subject matter jurisdiction.
“We adopt and incorporate by reference the circuit court’s thorough analysis, findings of fact, and conclusions of law set forth in the June 28, 2011, order. The Clerk is directed to attach a copy of the circuit court’s order to this memorandum decision.
“In its second assignment of error, petitioner argues that the circuit court erred by not requiring respondent to post a bond when respondent filed a motion for temporary restraining order. Inasmuch as we have already concluded that the writ of execution was properly quashed, the issue of whether a bond should have been posted is moot."