OF JUDGMENT: 06/28/2016
COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT HON. JAMES SETH ANDREW POUNDS
ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT: M. REED MARTZ
ATTORNEY FOR APPELLEES: P. NELSON SMITH JR.
GRIFFIS, P.J., CARLTON AND GREENLEE, JJ.
GRIFFIS, P.J., FOR THE COURT:
Marlin Business Bank obtained a default judgment against John
D. Stevens and Stevens Auction Company in a Pennsylvania
court. Marlin sought to enroll the foreign judgment in Monroe
County. The circuit-court judge denied Marlin's motion to
enroll the judgment. Marlin now appeals.
AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
John D. Stevens is the owner and operator of Stevens Auction
Company, located in Aberdeen, Mississippi. Stevens entered
into a contract with Security Depot, Inc., for the delivery,
installation, and service of video-surveillance equipment on
the auction premises. Security Depot, a Georgia-based
company, presented Stevens with a lease agreement, entitled
"work order." The work order detailed the equipment
and provided the monetary terms of the lease. Pursuant to the
terms, the sum of $217 was due at delivery, with payments of
the same amount to be paid over the sixty-month lease term.
The work order provided an option to purchase the equipment.
The work order contained a forum-selection clause. The
clause, located under a section titled "controlling law,
" provided that the laws of Georgia controlled any legal
proceeding related to the agreement. Stevens signed the
agreement and made its first payment to Security Depot on
November 14, 2013.
On the day of installation, Security Depot presented Stevens
with a second equipment- lease contract. The new contract was
with Marlin, a third-party finance company. The new contract,
entitled "Equipment Lease Contract for Leases under
$100, 000, " also required Stevens to make sixty monthly
payments of $217. The contract with Marlin also contained a
forum-selection clause. The clause provided the following:
Personal Guarantee. I hereby personally and
unconditionally guarantee all amounts owed by the leasing
customer under the lease. . . . I agree the lessor may
proceed against me separately from the leasing customer. . .
. I agree that the lease and personal guaranty shall be
governed by the laws of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and
any suit relating to the lease or personal guaranty shall be
brought only in a state or federal court in Pennsylvania and
I irrevocably consent and submit to the jurisdiction of such
courts, and I waive trial by jury. I agree that my faxed
signature shall be considered as good as my original
signature and admissible in court as conclusive evidence of
the personal guaranty.
Stevens signed the lease agreement with Marlin on November
21, 2013. Stevens then made its second payment to Security
Depot on November 22, 2013.
Shortly after installation, the equipment malfunctioned.
Stevens sought assistance from both Security Depot and
Marlin. The equipment was never repaired, and Stevens ceased