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Wyman v. Newhouse

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Brief Fact Summary.

Plaintiff successfully tricks Defendant into traveling to Florida just to serve Defendant with a summons.

Synopsis of Rule of Law.

Is service that is obtained through fraud valid and therefore merit full faith and credit in a different jurisdiction?

Points of Law - Legal Principles in this Case for Law Students.

A judgment recovered in a sister state, through the fraud of the party procuring the appearance of another, is not binding on the latter when an attempt is made to enforce such judgment in another state.

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Facts.

Plaintiff Wyman begs Defendant Newhouse to travel to Florida urgently. Plaintiff said that she was leaving the United States to take care of her mother in Ireland and that she really wanted to see Defendant before she left. Defendant acquiesces and upon arriving in Florida, sees plaintiff and a deputy sheriff who serves him with process. Defendant is a resident of New York and has never been a resident of Florida.

Issue.

Is service of process obtained through fraud valid and enforceable in another jurisdiction?

Held.

No. A judgement that is obtained using fraud in one jurisdiction is void and will not be enforceable in a different jurisdiction. Judgement should have been vacated in Florida and has no merit in New York. Decision of the lower court is affirmed.

Discussion.

  1. Judgement based on fraud is void.
  2. A judgement that is based on fraud does not warrant full faith and credit, and thus cannot be enforced in a sister state.
  3. Defendant Newhouse only went to Florida based on the deceitful statements made by Plaintiff Wyman.
  4. Defendant would not have been in Florida if not for Plaintiff’s fraud. The Florida court should have vacated their decision and thus the New York court will not enforce the judgement.

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