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2009-UP-612 - Pacific Fibers, Inc. v. U.S. Fibers, Inc

THIS OPINION HAS NO PRECEDENTIAL VALUE.  IT SHOULD NOT BE CITED OR RELIED ON AS PRECEDENT IN ANY PROCEEDING EXCEPT AS PROVIDED BY RULE 268(d)(2), SCACR.

THE STATE OF SOUTH CAROLINA
In The Court of Appeals

Pacific Fibers, Inc., a California Corporation, Respondent,

v.

Korea Poly Co., LTD, a Korean Limited Liability Company, and Edward Oh, d/b/a U.S. Fibers, Inc., Defendants,

Of whom Edward Oh, d/b/a U.S. Fibers, Inc. is the Appellant.


Appeal From Greenville County
Edward W. Miller, Circuit Court Judge


Unpublished Opinion No. 2009-UP-612
Submitted November 2, 2009 – Filed December 22, 2009


AFFIRMED


Ryan L. Beasley, of Greenville, for Appellant.

Thomas J. Thompson and Richard T. Townsend, of Laurens, for Respondent.

PER CURIAM:  This appeal concerns the enrollment of a California default judgment pursuant to the Uniform Enforcement of Judgments Act.  See S.C. Code Ann. §§ 15-35-900 to -960 (2005 & Supp. 2008). The facts surrounding the issuance of the California judgment stem from a business transaction between Pacific Fibers, Inc., a California company, and Korea Poly Co., LTD, a Korean company.  The original complaint alleged that Edward Oh (Oh), a South Carolina resident, brokered the transaction and that he obtained a commission from Korea Poly for brokering the deal.  The complaint further alleged that Oh "represented to [Pacific Fibers] that he and his company, U.S. Fiber, Inc. would guarantee payment on the transaction with Korea Poly, and that a letter of credit was not necessary."  On appeal, Oh contests the enrollment of the California judgment in South Carolina, arguing it was rendered without personal jurisdiction. 

We affirm[1] pursuant to Rule 220(b)(2), SCACR, and the following authorities: Hamilton v. Patterson, 236 S.C. 487, 492, 115 S.E.2d 68, 70 (1960) ("[T]he full faith and credit clause of the Constitution precludes any inquiry into the merits of the cause of action, the logic or consistency of the decision, or the validity of the legal principles on which the judgment is based."); Underwriters Nat. Assur. Co. v. N. C. Guaranty Assn., 455 U.S. 691, 705 (1982) ("Consequently, before a court is bound by the judgment rendered in another State, it may inquire into the jurisdictional basis of the foreign court's decree."); S.C. Code Ann. § 15-35-940(A) (2005) (permitting a judgment debtor to file a motion for relief from, or a notice of defense to, a foreign judgment on any ground for which relief from a judgment of this state is allowed); PYA/Monarch, Inc. v. Sowell's Meats & Servs., Inc., 327 S.C. 469, 473, 486 S.E.2d 766, 768 (Ct. App. 1997) (listing lack of personal jurisdiction as a ground upon which relief from judgment is permitted under Rule 60(b)(4), SCRCP); Minorplanet Systems USA Ltd. v. American Aire, Inc., 368 S.C. 146, 149, 628 S.E.2d 43, 45 (2006) (in determining the validity and effect of a foreign judgment based on lack of personal jurisdiction, we look to the laws of the state that rendered the judgment); Cal. Code Civ. Proc., § 410.10 (West 2009) (California courts may exercise jurisdiction over a nonresident defendant on any basis not inconsistent with the Constitution of California and the United States); International Shoe Co. v. Washington, 326 U.S. 310, 316 (1945) (personal jurisdiction over a nonresident defendant comports with the constitutional requirements of due process if the defendant has such minimum contacts with the state that the assertion of jurisdiction does not violate traditional notions of fair play and substantial justice); Burger King Corp. v. Rudzewicz, 471 U.S. 462, 472-73 (1985) (the level and character of minimum contacts necessary for the exercise of specific personal jurisdiction depends upon whether the defendant has purposefully availed himself of forum benefits and whether the controversy is related to or arises out of the defendant's contacts with the forum); Checker Motors Corp. v. Superior Court, 17 Cal. Rptr.2d 618, 623 (2d Dist. Ct. App. 1993) (finding sufficient minimum contacts between California and an out-of-state business where the parties negotiated extensively via telephone and other methods of communication).[2]

AFFIRMED.

WILLIAMS, PIEPER, and LOCKEMY, JJ., concur.


[1]  We decide this case without oral argument pursuant to Rule 215, SCACR.

[2]  While not raised on appeal, we note the provision of South Carolina Code Section 15-35-940(B) (2005) relied upon by the trial court in placing the burden on the creditor was subsequently found to be unconstitutional in Law Firm of Paul L. Erickson, P.A. v. Boykin, 383 S.C. 497, 681 S.E.2d 575, 579-80 (2009).  Specifically, in contemplating the presumption of a foreign judgment's regularity, the Boykin court held the last sentence of § 15-35-940(B) violates the federal constitution by unequivocally placing the burden of proving the entitlement to full faith and credit on the creditor if the debtor files a motion for relief or notice of defense.  Id.  Notwithstanding, this decision would not change our disposition herein.