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CONTINENTAL BANK v. JOHN J. SCHALER (05/05/87)

filed: May 5, 1987.

CONTINENTAL BANK, APPELLEE,
v.
JOHN J. SCHALER, III AND EDMUND C. GEATENS, APPELLANTS. APPEAL OF EDMUND C. GEATENS



Appeal from the order of the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County, Civil, at No. 3307 August Term, 1985.

COUNSEL

William W. Spalding, Philadelphia, for appellants.

T.J. Scully, Philadelphia, for appellee.

Cavanaugh, Montemuro and Beck, JJ.

Author: Montemuro

[ 362 Pa. Super. Page 611]

This appeal lies from an Order denying appellant's petition to strike/open a judgment against him. In 1979 and 1981, the parties entered into loan agreements*fn1 on which the balance due in 1983, when litigation commenced, was

[ 362 Pa. Super. Page 612]

$55,000. As collateral for the debt, appellee accepted the title documents for appellant's 1966 Rolls Royce. Appellant defaulted, but sometime prior to foreclosure had attempted to sell the car in satisfaction of the loan. To this end the car had been transported from Philadelphia, where it was registered and where appellant maintained his principal residence, to Dallas, Texas. There it was offered for sale by the dealer (Schaler) from whom appellant had originally purchased it. No buyers were found. Appellee entered default judgment against appellant in Texas, and after transferring the judgment to the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas, seized the car and returned it to Pennsylvania, where it was sold at auction for $25,000.*fn2 Appellant petitioned unsuccessfully to open/strike the foreign judgment, and this appeal followed.

Four issues are raised which we will address seriatim.

Appellant first argues that the trial court committed reversible error when it refused to strike the foreign default judgment for lack of in personam jurisdiction.

The test for whether a default judgment should be stricken asks whether the judgment is factually valid. It is proper for the court to strike when the judgment has a fatal defect on its face . . . . The standard for 'defects' asks whether the procedures mandated by law for the taking of default judgments have been followed.

Continental Bank v. Rapp, 336 Pa. Super. 160, 166, 485 A.2d 480, 483 (1984) (citations omitted, emphasis supplied).

Appellant has alleged that the court lacked power to pass judgment, but not for any procedural dereliction. His argument that the judgment should be stricken is therefore inapposite. However, the error is one of semantics rather than substance, and since it concerns a ...


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