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MEDINA & MEDINA v. GURRENTZ INTERNATIONAL CORPORATION (09/03/82)

SUPERIOR COURT OF PENNSYLVANIA


filed: September 3, 1982.

MEDINA & MEDINA, INC., A PUERTO RICAN CORPORATION
v.
GURRENTZ INTERNATIONAL CORPORATION, FORMERLY AMERICAN CENTRAL TRADING CORPORATION, APPELLANT

No. 900 Pittsburgh, 1981, Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County, at Sur. Judgment No. GD 80-27972, Ex. No. GD 80-27973.

COUNSEL

John Joseph Ford, Pittsburgh, for appellant.

David R. Brown, Pittsburgh, for appellee.

Spaeth, Johnson and Hoffman, JJ.

Author: Hoffman

[ 304 Pa. Super. Page 78]

Appellant contends that appellee's domesticated foreign judgment should have been stricken because supporting docket entries were not properly authenticated. We disagree and, accordingly, affirm the order of the court below.

In 1979, a $63,358.55 judgment was entered for appellee against appellant's predecessor in interest by the Superior Court of Puerto Rico, San Juan Section, at Civil No. 71-3225 (903). Appellee subsequently domesticated the judgment by filing it in the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas pursuant to the Uniform Enforcement of Foreign Judgments Act, 42 Pa.C.S.A. § 4306(b) (hereinafter cited as the UEFJA).*fn1 Appellee amended its original filings and appellant filed an amended petition to strike the judgment. The lower court denied that petition, prompting this appeal.

Appellant contends that the Puerto Rican docket entries were not properly authenticated. Under the UEFJA, appellee could authenticate them under either federal law, see 28 U.S.C.A. § 1738, or under Pennsylvania law, see 42 Pa.C.S.A. § 5328.*fn2 Id. § 4306(b). Although "foreign" for the purposes of the UEFJA, the Puerto Rican judgment is a "domestic record" for authentication purposes under the

[ 304 Pa. Super. Page 79]

Uniform Interstate and International Procedure Act. Id. § 5328(a) (any "record kept within the United States, or any state, district, commonwealth, territory, insular possession thereof"). See also 28 U.S.C.A. § 1738 (court records from "any State, Territory, or Possession of the United States" entitled to full faith and credit); 48 U.S.C.A. § 731 et seq. (recognizing and defining relationship between United States and Puerto Rico). Section 5328(a) of our Judicial Code provides:

Domestic record. -- An official record kept within the United States, or any state, district, commonwealth, territory, insular possession thereof, or the Panama Canal Zone, the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands, or an entry therein, when admissible for any purpose, may be evidenced by an official publication thereof or by a copy attested by the officer having the legal custody of the record, or by his deputy, and accompanied by a certificate that the officer has custody. The certificate may be made by a judge of a court of record having jurisdiction in the governmental unit in which the record is kept, authenticated by the seal of the court, or by any public officer having a seal of office and having official duties in the governmental unit in which the record is kept, authenticated by the seal of his office.

Appellee's filings contain a signed, sealed certificate and its translation, the accuracy of which has not been questioned by the parties. The certificate reads:

CERTIFICATE

I CERTIFY: That this document is a true and exact copy of its original which contains all the documents filed in case # 71-3225 under our custody, as they were filed in the Registry of Civil Matters # 8 for the year 1971.

And at the request of Attorney Gonzalez I issue this certificate under my signature and the official seal of the Superior Court of Puerto Rico, San Juan Section.

[ 304 Pa. Super. Page 80]

San Juan, Puerto Rico, this 25 of March, 1981. This document recites the authenticity of the docket entries; is signed by the Assistant General Clerk of the Superior Court of Puerto Rico, San Juan Section; bears the seal of that court; and adequately discloses that the clerk has possession of the original from which the copy was made. We are satisfied appellee has met the requirements of section 5328(a). Accordingly, the lower court did not err in denying appellant's petition to strike the judgment.*fn3

Order affirmed.


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