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Harris v. Balk

Citation. 198 U.S. 215, 25 S.Ct. 625, 49 L.Ed. 1023 (1905)
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Brief Fact Summary.

Plaintiff sued Defendant to enforce payment of a debt. Defendant argued the debt had already been paid to Epstein, a resident of another state who Plaintiff owed money to.

Synopsis of Rule of Law.

A court must give full faith and credit to another state court’s judgment if that court had personal jurisdiction over the parties.


Balk (Plaintiff), a resident of North Carolina, owed money to Epstein, a Maryland resident. Harris (Defendant), a North Carolina resident, owed money to Balk. While Defendant was in Maryland, Epstein personally served him with a writ of attachment. Defendant consented to the judgment and paid the debt to Epstein. Plaintiff then sued Defendant, arguing that Defendant had to pay him the debt owed. Defendant argued that the judgment in Maryland had to be upheld under full faith and credit.


Under full faith and credit, must the North Carolina court recognize the judgment of the Maryland court against the Defendant?


Yes, the judgment of the Maryland court must be recognized by the North Carolina court. The case is reversed and remanded.


The Court determined that Maryland’s judgment against the Defendant was valid because Maryland established personal jurisdiction over Defendant when he entered the state and was personally served.

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