The Second Department, reversing Supreme Court, determined that a California judgment should have been given full faith and credit and the underlying merits should not have been considered:
The plaintiff established its prima facie entitlement to judgment as a matter of law by submitting the judgment and the order, which obligated the defendants to pay the plaintiff certain amounts, and evidence that the defendants had not paid the amounts awarded therein (see CPLR 3213 …). In opposition, the defendants failed to raise a triable issue of fact as to a bona fide defense.
The full faith and credit clause of the United States Constitution (US Const, art IV, § 1) requires that the public acts, records, and judicial proceedings of each state be given full faith and credit in every other state. The purpose of the clause is to avoid conflicts between states in adjudicating the same matters … . “The doctrine establishes a rule of evidence . . . which requires recognition of the foreign judgment as proof of the prior-out-of-State litigation and gives it res judicata effect, thus avoiding relitigation of issues in one State which have already been decided in another” … . “Absent a challenge to the jurisdiction of the issuing court, New York is required to give the same preclusive effect to a judgment from another state as it would have in the issuing state” … , and it is precluded from inquiring into the merits of the judgment … .
Here, the defendants did not challenge the jurisdiction of the California court, but instead, sought to relitigate the merits underlying that court’s determination. The Supreme Court should not have considered the defendants’ attack on the merits of the California determination. Balboa Capital Corp. v Plaza Auto Care, Inc., 2019 NY Slip Op 08645, Second Dept 12-4-19