Investment Associates v. Summit Associates, Inc.
1st Impression Issue: Act Reviving Judgment Applies Retroactively
Civil Procedure | Judgments | Creditors’ and Debtors’ Rights
- onnecticut Supreme Court
- SC 18910
- Aug 27 2013 (Date Decided)
- McDonald, J.
The manifest purpose of revival under Connecticut General Statutes §52-598(c) is to create a new judgment to meet a foreign jurisdiction's time limits for enforcement. In 1994, Investment Associates, identified as a joint venture, obtained a judgment on a promissory note, including against guarantor, Joseph Lancia. Lancia had moved to South Carolina. Under Connecticut law, the plaintiff had 20 years from the date judgment entered to obtain an execution. After the shorter, 10 year South Carolina period expired, the plaintiff filed a separate action in Connecticut against Lancia to enforce the judgment. It was dismissed for lack of personal jurisdiction. In 2009, the legislature enacted P.A. 09-215, codified at C.G.S. §52-598, creating a mechanism whereby a judgment creditor can "revive" an unsatisfied judgment for money damages before the Connecticut period for enforcement expires. Under C.G.S. §52-598(c), the plaintiff filed a motion to revive the 1994 judgment. The court granted the motion and denied Lancia's motion to dismiss. The Appellate Court affirmed the judgment. Lancia appealed claiming, first, that the Appellate Court improperly determined that his challenge to the trial court's subject matter jurisdiction—that the plaintiff was neither a legal entity nor an existing one—was barred as an improper collateral attack on the original judgment. The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment. Even if collateral attacks were permitted in the context of motions to revive, the defendant would not be entitled to do so here because he could not establish that he was entitled to a judgment of dismissal based on the existing record. This included his claim that joint ventures are not legal entities and lack capacity to sue. Even if true, the plaintiff would be entitled to demonstrate it also is a partnership, capable of bringing an action. The defendant could not conclusively demonstrate that the judgment was void ab initio on its face. Although not a collateral attack, the defendant's claim was unpersuasive that the plaintiff was not in existence when it filed the motion to revive. Further, C.G.S. §52-598(c), a procedural statute, applies retroactively and provided a proper basis for the court's personal jurisdiction over the defendant. Because no substantive change to the original judgment results, a motion to revive under C.G.S. §52-598(c) is effectively a continuation of the original proceeding rather than a new action.