Filing a Foreign Judgment In Wisconsin

In Hansen v. McAndrews, 49 Wis. 2d 625, 183 N.W.2d 1 (1971), a party obtained a judgment in a Minnesota court against a non-resident of Minnesota and then successfully filed the foreign judgment in a Wisconsin circuit court. In reversing the trial court, our supreme court determined that an aggrieved party who opposed the filing of a foreign judgment under Wis. Stat. 806.24 was not obligated to seek relief in the Minnesota courts before pursuing its personal jurisdiction defense here. See 49 Wis. 2d at 630-631. In permitting a lack of personal jurisdiction defense to be raised in the Wisconsin suit seeking registration of the foreign judgment, the supreme court declared: The defect alleged in the judgment here involved is that of jurisdiction. This is obviously a legitimate matter of inquiry whenever the enforcement of a foreign judgment is sought. Indeed, this court has stated that this is the first matter to be inquired into. It is well settled that without proper service of process no full faith and credit need be accorded a foreign judgment; in fact, the requirements of due process militate against according such, and the judgment may then be collaterally attacked. Of course, if the jurisdictional issue is fully litigated in the foreign court and is not subject to collateral attack in that state, then the forum court is bound by the judgment rendered as to jurisdiction as well. These general propositions apply to actions in rem and quasi in rem as well as personal judgments, provided due process has been complied with. Id. at 630. It is axiomatic that a judgment secured without obtaining personal jurisdiction over a party is void, and a void judgment can be collaterally attacked at any time in any proceeding, state or federal. See Neylan v. Vorwald, 124 Wis. 2d 85, 99, 368 N.W.2d 648 (1985).