BEFORE WALKER, BOWLING AND PRATHER
WALKER, PRESIDING JUSTICE, FOR THE COURT:
The question on this appeal is whether a judgment rendered in the District Court of Louisiana is entitled to full faith and credit in the courts of Mississippi. The Circuit Court of Jackson County held that it was not so entitled. From this judgment the appellant perfected its appeal and assigns the following as error:
The circuit court erred in denying full faith and credit to a Louisiana judgment by assigning a lack of minimum contacts requisite for in personam jurisdiction to attach under Louisiana's long arm statute.
The appellant, Harmony Corporation, is a general contractor based in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and incorporated under the laws of that state. The appellee, M & M Pipe and Pressure Vessel Fabricators, Inc., (hereinafter M & M) is a Mississippi corporation with manufacturing facilities located in Pascagoula.
Harmony was submitting a bid to Exxon Company, U.S.A. for construction of a refinery in Baton Rouge. Since the job would require pipe fabrication, Harmony contacted several companies, including M & M, for price quotations. On July 2, 1979, M & M sent a letter to Harmony in Baton Rouge, Louisiana confirming its oral quotation. It was this quote that Harmony used in its bid to Exxon. Thereafter, Harmony was awarded the construction contract on the Exxon refinery. On August 14, 1979 Harmony, at Baton Rouge, accepted M & M's price offer of July 2, 1979. Under the terms of the contract Harmony was to furnish M & M with all materials, except consumables, at its Pascagoula plant. M & M was required to do the fabrication and then ship the finished product to the refinery site at Baton Rouge. The agreed price was $34,260.00.
After the appellant had made partial payment in the amount of $20,000.00, a dispute arose as to the quality of the pipe. When efforts to resolve the dispute failed, Harmony filed a contractual damages action against M & M in the Nineteenth Judicial District of Louisiana. Service of process was by certified mail pursuant to Louisiana's long arm statute. The appellee failed to appear in Louisiana and the court entered a default judgment in the amount of $83,707.00.
Harmony then brought suit in the Circuit Court of Jackson County on its Louisiana judgment. The appellee opposed the suit, asserting that the Louisiana judgment was void for lack of in personam jurisdiction.
Both parties agreed that the contract did not require M & M to perform any welding or fabrication in Louisiana.
After the hearing, the trial judge held that there was not sufficient contact for the Louisiana court to obtain in personam jurisdiction over M & M. Accordingly, he refused to enroll the judgment.
The Mississippi law relating to foreign judgments was summarized in the case of Galbraith & Dickens Aviation Insurance Agency v. Gulf Coast Aircraft Sales, Inc., 396 So.2d 19 (Miss. 1981)
It is well settled that a judgment rendered by a court of competent jurisdiction in a sister state is entitled to a presumption of validity as to that court's assumption of jurisdiction, and the burden is on the party attacking the judgment to affirmatively show its invalidity. Marsh v. Luther, 373 So.2d 1039 (Miss. 1979).
It is also a general rule that judgments entered in courts of a sister state, when sought to be made the judgment of another state, may only be attacked for lack of jurisdiction, otherwise they must be given the same effect as a domestic judgment. See generally 50 C.J.S. Judgments 889 (1947); 47 Am. Jur. 2d Judgments 1214 et seq. (1969).
As a general rule, one must ...