Harris v. Balk
SCOTUS - 1905 (198 U.S. 215)
- Harris, from NC, owed Balk, from NC, $180. Balk owed Epstein, from MD, $300.
- Epstein sued Harris when they were both in MD for the amount Harris owed Balk, $180.
- Epstein won judgment in MD, and Harris paid Epstein $180.
- Later, Balk sued Harris for the $180 owed to him.
- Balk won in lower court.
- Upheld in NC supreme court.
- Reversed and remanded by SCOTUS.
- Must a state give "full faith and credit" to a judgment made against one of its residents while that resident was in another state?
- Can a person's debts be attached in another state when the person the debt is owed to crosses state lines?
- For purposes of jurisdiction, debts have no situs but follow a debtor wherever he goes.
- States must give "full faith and credit" to judgments made against its residents when those residents are in another state.
- The situs of a person's debt is not stationary but follows the debtor wherever he goes.
- It is the object of the courts to prevent a debt from being paid twice.
- None given.
- This is one of the first cases about jurisdiction issues with non-tangible property.
- Debt is an intangible form of property
- Through this case, someone can gain in personam jurisdiction over a debtor's debtor if they are in the same state.
- This is especially troublesome for corporate debtors.