GREGORY K. PRICE, APPELLANT
JOHN S. PEREIRA, AS CHAPTER 7 TRUSTEE OF CASHPOINT NETWORK SERVICES, INC., APPELLEE
DATE OF JUDGMENT: 05/17/2010.
COURT FROM WHICH APPEALED: HINDS COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT. TRIAL JUDGE: HON.W. SWAN YERGER.
FOR APPELLANT: BRADLEY TRUETT GOLMON, F. HALL BAILEY, JAMES DARON JOHNSON.
FOR APPELLEE: JAMES J. MCNAMARA IV, RICHARD JARRAD GARNER.
CARLTON, J. LEE, C.J., IRVING AND GRIFFIS, P.JJ., BARNES, ISHEE, ROBERTS, MAXWELL AND FAIR, JJ., CONCUR. JAMES, J., DISSENTS WITH SEPARATE WRITTEN OPINION.
[¶1] This case addresses the enrollment of foreign judgments and the exceptions available to the constitutional requirement of honoring foreign judgments with full faith and credit when those judgments are properly enrolled in Mississippi.
[¶2] The procedural history of the foreign judgment at issue reflects that in a prior, separate case, John Pereira, a bankruptcy trustee for Cashpoint Network Services Inc. (Cashpoint), filed a complaint in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York alleging that Gregory Price signed and executed a " Personal Indemnity and Guaranty," which indebted Price to Cashpoint in the amount of $2,111,373.79. Price denied ever signing the guaranty. The bankruptcy court ultimately struck Price's answer due to discovery issues and then entered a default judgment in the amount of $2,111,373.81. Price failed to appeal that judgment.
[¶3] The bankruptcy trustee, Pereira, then filed a petition seeking to enroll that foreign judgment in Mississippi. Price filed an objection to the petition. Pereira then filed an answer to Price's objection, as well as a motion for summary judgment, asserting that the foreign judgment from the bankruptcy court was a final judgment and, thus, was entitled to full faith and credit by the trial court. Upon Pereira's motion, the Hinds County Circuit Court granted summary judgment, thereby allowing the judgment to be enrolled. Price now appeals the grant of summary judgment and asserts as error that his due-process rights were violated in the prior bankruptcy proceeding wherein the foreign judgment was rendered. We find no error in the trial court's grant of summary judgment; accordingly, we affirm.
Foreign Judgment Rendered in Bankruptcy Court
[¶4] We first review the relevant facts pertaining to the prior proceeding wherein
the foreign judgment was obtained. On August 15, 2006, Pereira filed a complaint in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York. In his complaint, Pereira, as bankruptcy trustee for Cashpoint, alleged that Price signed and executed a " Personal Indemnity and Guaranty," which indebted Price to Cashpoint in the amount of $2,111,373.79. Pereira failed to attach the guaranty to the filed complaint.
[¶5] Price filed an answer denying ever executing a personal guaranty or providing Cashpoint with a personal guaranty of any sum. On November 14, 2006, Pereira made his first demand that Price produce numerous documents, including any guaranties executed by Price. On March 22, 2007, Pereira filed a motion to compel Price to produce documents and appear for a deposition as a result of Price's failure to respond to discovery demands, or, alternatively, to strike Price's answer.
[¶6] On March 28, 2007, the bankruptcy court entered an order directing Price to produce any and all documents responsive to Pereira's demand for production. On May 3, 2007, the bankruptcy court entered another order directing Price's cooperation with Pereira's demands, and also directing Price to produce financial information for the period from September 18, 2001, through and including April 22, 2004. Price produced tax returns and personal bank-account information for much of that time frame.
[¶7] On July 25, 2007, Pereira filed a motion to strike Price's answer and enter a default judgment as a result of Price's failure to respond to his discovery demands. A hearing on Pereira's motion to strike and enter a default judgment was scheduled for August 16, 2007. Price, however, asserts that he was not provided with proper notice for this hearing, as the notice supposedly sent to Price provided him with the wrong date for the hearing. Price failed to show up for the hearing on August 16, 2007, and the bankruptcy court granted Pereira's motion to strike Price's answer and enter a default judgment.
[¶8] On September 5, 2007, the bankruptcy court entered an order requiring Price to produce all documents requested by Pereira. The order stated that if Price failed to produce the documents, then Pereira may re-apply for a default judgment and it would be presumptively granted. Pereira filed his re-application for an order striking Price's answer on September 24, 2007, wherein he admitted Price had produced tax returns for 2001 through 2003 and checking-account statements from 2000 through 2004, but Pereira claimed this was insufficient. The court entered an order granting Pereira's motion and entering a default judgment against Price on September 19, 2008, over one year later. The record contains no appeal of this judgment from the bankruptcy court by Price.
Enrollment of Foreign Judgment in Mississippi
[¶9] Pereira then filed a petition to enroll the foreign bankruptcy judgment in the Hinds County Circuit Court, the Forrest County Circuit Court, and the Yazoo County Circuit Court. Price then filed a motion to consolidate the petitions before the Hinds County Circuit Court, and an agreed order of consolidation was entered in Hinds County. Price filed an objection to the petition to enroll the judgment, claiming that the foreign judgment was based on either fraud or misrepresentation of facts, and was therefore void. Price asserted in his objection to the enrollment petition that Pereira failed to produce the alleged guaranty signed by Price. He also claimed ...