from the Iowa District Court for Pottawattamie County, James
M. Richardson, Judge.
Edwards appeals the district court's denial of his
challenge to the validity of an out-of-state judgment.
Matthew V. Stierman, Council Bluffs, for appellant.
M. Northfield, Urbandale, for appellee.
Considered by Potterfield, P.J., Doyle, J., and Danilson,
DANILSON, SENIOR JUDGE.
Edwards appeals the district court's denial of his
challenge to the validity of an out-of-state judgment. The
district court erred in concluding the issue of personal
jurisdiction must be determined by the Texas court. We
reverse and remand for entry of an order vacating the foreign
judgment against Brett Edwards.
Scope of Review.
review is for correction of errors at law. Eagle Leasing
v. Amandus, 476 N.W.2d 35, 36 (Iowa 1991).
Background Facts and Proceedings.
record shows that on August 3, 2016, Troy Hack obtained a
default judgment in the amount of $5702.00, plus interest and
court costs, against a defendant "Edwards Automotive
(Brett Edwards)" in a court in Hidalgo County, Texas.
The default judgment indicated that "although duly
served" "Edwards Automotive (Brett Edwards) . . .
failed to file and answer or appear."
March 26, 2018, Hack filed the Texas judgment in the Iowa
District Court for Pottawattamie County, and the clerk of
court sent notice of the filing of foreign judgment to a
Brett Edwards at 920 32nd Avenue, Council Bluffs, which was
the address provided by Troy Hack to the clerk for
"Edwards Automotive (Brett Edwards)."
to the Uniform Enforcement of Foreign Judgments Act, Iowa
Code chapter 626A (2018), on April 6, 2018, Brett Edwards
filed a motion to vacate judgment and motion for stay. He
Notice of Foreign Judgment was mailed by the clerk of court
on March 27, 2018 on Defendant Brett Edwards. No mailing has
been made, to the Defendants knowledge, on Defendant
"Edwards Automotive". It is not clear from the
Texas judgment whether "Edwards Automotive" was
intended to be considered a separate legal entity, or an
alter ego, because of the reference in the judgment as
against Edwards Automotive, and parenthetically as against
also stated-and filed a supporting affidavit-that he had no
contact with Hack, "either in Iowa or Texas"; he
was the General Manager of Edwards Chevrolet-Cadillac; he
resides and works in Council Bluffs, Iowa; he has had no
contact with the state of Texas "related to this sale or
any matter related thereto"; and he "does not
reside, do business, or otherwise have minimum contacts with
the state of Texas as would be required for the Texas court
to have personal jurisdiction over him." Brett
In this case, the exercise of personal jurisdiction over
Edwards would be improper where the contacts between Edwards
and the state of Texas are non-existent, and indicate that
Edwards did not purposefully avail himself of Texas's
laws. See Tung v. Am. Univ. of the Caribbean, 353
N.W.2d 869, 871-72 (Iowa. Ct. App. 1984) (dismissing action
where an uncontested affidavit indicated that defendant did
not transact any business in the forum state, did not have
any agents or employees in the forum state; did not own
property in the forum state; and did not have any minimal
contacts with the forum state).
filed a resistance, invoking the Full Faith and Credit Clause
of the United States Constitution. Hack's resistance
provides in part:
(3) The Defendant was properly served by the sheriff of
Pottawattamie County on July 6, 2017.
(4) Such service provided notice to the Defendant that a
pending case was presented to the court in Texas and it
provided the time allowed to file an answer or risk having a
default judgment entered against the Defendant.
(5) Defendant failed to file an answer and a default judgment
was entered on August 3, 2017 under Rule 239 of the Texas
Rules of Civil Procedure.
(6) The default judgment provided a notice of appeal allowing
for 21 days from entry of default.
identifying to which "defendant" he referred, Hack
argued the question of whether the defendant had sufficient
contacts with the state of Texas was for the Texas court to
decide, and because there was no challenge in the Texas
court, the defendant could not challenge the judgment now.
response, Brett noted that Hack had presented no supporting
affidavits and challenged Hack's legal claims.
filed a written response asserting, "Edwards Automotive
'did business' in Texas" sufficient to establish
sufficient contacts with Texas to support personal
jurisdiction in Texas. He noted, "Edwards Automotive . .
. specifically targeted and contacted the [Troy Hack] through
targeted advertisements and personal phone calls by its
employee, Josh Hack, its contact was purposeful in
establishing a customer relationship, and it expected a
benefit by selling [Troy Hack] a vehicle." Attached to
this response was: (1) an affidavit of a Josh Hack signed by
a Nebraska notary, and (2) a forwarded promotional
email-dated December 12, 2017-from "Edwards Motorsports
& RV" with an address of 1010 34th Avenue, Council
Bluffs, to an email address "email@example.com."
Josh Hack averred he "worked for Edwards Autogroup from
Oct 2013 to April 2016." Josh Hack further stated,
"Edwards contacted Troy directly while he was in Texas
(through employees, ...