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The 191st General Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts

AN ACT ESTABLISHING THE UNIFORM ENFORCEMENT OF FOREIGN JUDGMENTS.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:

SECTION 1.  Chapter 218 of the General Laws is hereby amended by inserting after section 4 the following section:-

Section 4A.  (a)  This section may be cited as the Massachusetts Uniform Enforcement of Foreign Judgments Act.

(b)  As used in this section, the following words shall, unless the context clearly requires otherwise, have the following meanings:-

“District court”, any division of the district court department of the trial court and the Boston municipal court department.

“Foreign judgment”, a judgment, decree or order of a court of the United States or of any other court that is entitled to full faith and credit in the commonwealth.

“Judgment creditor”, the owner of an unsatisfied judgment.

“Judgment debtor”, a person against whom a judgment has entered that remains unsatisfied.

(c)  A judgment creditor may file a copy of any foreign judgment that has been authenticated in accordance with an act of congress or the laws of the commonwealth in the office of the clerk of the district court for the district in which the judgment debtor resides; provided, however, that if the judgment debtor is not a natural person, the judgment creditor may file the foreign judgment in the office of the clerk of the district court for the district in which the judgment debtor has a usual place of business at the time of the filing. The clerk shall treat the foreign judgment in the same manner as a judgment of a district court of the commonwealth. A judgment so filed shall have the same effect and shall be subject to the same procedures, defenses and proceedings for reopening, vacating or staying as a judgment of a district court of the commonwealth and may be enforced or satisfied in like manner.

(d)  At the time of the filing of the foreign judgment, the judgment creditor or the judgment creditor’s lawyer shall make and file with the clerk of the district court an affidavit setting forth the name and last known post office address of the judgment debtor and the judgment creditor.

Promptly upon the filing of the foreign judgment and the affidavit, the clerk shall mail notice of the filing of the foreign judgment to the judgment debtor at the address given and shall make a note of the mailing in the docket. The notice shall include the name and post office address of the judgment creditor and the judgment creditor's lawyer, if any, in the commonwealth. In addition, the judgment creditor may mail a notice of the filing of the judgment to the judgment debtor and may file proof of mailing with the clerk. Lack of mailing notice of filing by the clerk shall not affect the enforcement proceedings if proof of mailing by the judgment creditor has been filed.

No execution or other process for enforcement of a foreign judgment filed pursuant to this section shall issue less than 30 days after the date the judgment is filed.

(e)  If the judgment debtor shows the district court that an appeal from the foreign judgment is pending or will be taken, or that a stay of execution has been granted, the court shall, upon proof that the judgment debtor has furnished the security for the satisfaction of the judgment required by the state in which it was rendered, stay enforcement of the foreign judgment until the appeal is concluded, the time for appeal expires or the stay of execution expires or is vacated.

If the judgment debtor shows the district court any ground upon which the enforcement of a judgment of a district court of the commonwealth would be stayed, the court shall stay enforcement of the foreign judgment for an appropriate period, upon requiring the same security for satisfaction of the judgment that is required in the commonwealth.

(f)  A person filing a foreign judgment shall pay to the clerk of the district court the fee required for the entry of a complaint as set forth in sections 2 and 4C of chapter 262. Fees for docketing, transcription or other enforcement proceedings shall be the same as provided for judgments of the district court.

(g)  Notwithstanding this section, a judgment creditor shall retain the right to bring an action to enforce a judgment instead of proceeding under this section.

(h)  This section shall be so interpreted and construed as to effectuate its general purpose to make uniform the law of those states which enact it.

Approved, January 1, 2019.