The Law Office of Alan Pritchard, PLLC
Attorney at Law · 901-249-8748
Practice Areas Business and Commercial Disputes Breach of Contract Cases Commercial Debt Collection Construction Law/Mechanics' & Materialmens' Liens Landlord/Tenant Law Closely Held or Family Owned Corporations and Shareholders Rights Rule 31 Listed Mediator Fair Debt Collection Practices Act Counseling and Litigation
Enforcement of Foreign Judgment in a Commercial Debt Collection or Breach of Contract Case Tennessee Memphis, TN Attorney Blog | The Law Office of Alan Pritchard, PLLC. | Memphis Business Litigation Lawyer - Shelby County Commercial Litigation

Memphis, TN Litigation Law Blog

Enforcement of Foreign Judgment in a Commercial Debt Collection or Breach of Contract Case Tennessee

Posted by Alan Pritchard on November 18, 2012

Many times, a company or individual will obtain a judgment on a commercial debt or breach of contract case in one state, but cannot collect the judgment in the state in which it obtained the judgment because the judgment debtor has no assets in that state.  In that circumstance, the judgment creditor will have to enforce the judgment in the state in which the judgment debtor has assets.  Fortunately, many states, including Tennessee, have enacted a uniform law, the Uniform Enforcement of Foreign Judgments Act, which facilliates the enrollment and enforcement of a judgment from one state in Tennessee.

Tennessee's version of the Act is codified at T.C.A. Section 26-6-101, et. seq.  The Act sets forth the procedural steps that must be followed in order to make a judgment from another state a Tennessee judgment that can be enforced in Tennessee.  The first thing that has to be done is that an authenticated copy of the foreign judgement is filed with either the circuit or chancery court clerk in Tennessee.  The authenticated judgment should be filed in the county in which the judgment debtoror the debtor's assets are located.  It is important that the judgment is an authenticated judgment and not just a certified copy of the judgment.  Your court clerk should have the appropriate form for an authenticated judgment.

At the time the authenticated judgment is filed, "the judgment creditor or the judgment creditor's lawyer shall make and file with the clerk of the court an affidavit setting forth the name and last known post office address of the judgment debtor, and the judgment creditor."  After the affidavit and authenticated judgment are filed, the court clerk will issue a summons to be served on the judgment debtor.  The judgment creditor must wait for 30 days from the date the summons is served before it can begin to execute on or enforce the judgment.

The judgment debtor can file a responsive pleading to the judgment creditor's affidavit; however, its defenses are limited to those that are available to it for "reopening, vacating, or staying" a case in Tennessee.  Additionally, enforcement of the judgment can be stayed in Tennessee if the judgment debtor demonstrates that "an appeal from the foreign judgment is pending or will be taken, or that a stay of execution has been granted."

The procedure provided under Tennessee's version of the Uniform Enforcement of Foreign Judgment Act is not the only way by which the holder of a foreign judgment can enforce its judgment.  The judgment creditor can bring a new action in Tennessee to enforce the judgment; however, proceeding under the Act is the more efficient means by which to proceed.

If you have a judgment in a commercial debt collection case or a breach of contract in a state outside of Tennessee and would like to have it enrolled and enforced in Tennessee or would like to discuss your options, feel free to contact me at The Law Office of Alan Pritchard, PLLC at 901-310-5158 or visit my website at





Go back