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Farmers State Bank v. Ruby M. Speaker

October 26, 2012

FARMERS STATE BANK, PLAINTIFF AND RESPONDENT,
v.
RUBY M. SPEAKER, DEFENDANT AND APPELLANT.



(Super. Ct. No. CVCS111583)

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Robie , Acting P. J.

Farmers State Bank v. Speaker

CA3

NOT TO BE PUBLISHED

California Rules of Court, rule 8.1115(a), prohibits courts and parties from citing or relying on opinions not certified for publication or ordered published, except as specified by rule 8.1115(b). This opinion has not been certified for publication or ordered published for purposes of rule 8.1115.

Farmers State Bank obtained a default judgment against Ruby M. Speaker in a Montana state court and registered that judgment here under the California Sister State Judgments Act (the Act) (Code Civ. Proc.,*fn1 § 1710.10 et seq.). Speaker then moved unsuccessfully to vacate the California judgment, claiming (among other things) that she should now be permitted to raise certain "viable" substantive defenses she could have raised to the bank's action, had it been initially filed in California.

In this judgment roll appeal from the trial court order denying her motion to vacate the California judgment, Speaker renews her claim she should now be permitted to raise the "multiple defenses available to her under California law." We disagree and shall affirm the judgment.

BACKGROUND

Farmers State Bank is a financial institution licensed in Montana. Speaker is a resident of Sutter County.

In 2008, Speaker signed a promissory note in favor of the bank of approximately $400,000. Her daughter and son-in-law, the Swansons, were coborrowers, and the loan was intended to finance the purchase of commercial real property in Montana, on which the Swansons intended to operate a restaurant. The loan was refinanced in 2009; Speaker and the Swansons were also coborrowers on the 2009 promissory note. Both notes provided that, in the event of a lawsuit, Speaker agreed to submit to the jurisdiction of the courts in Ravalli County, Montana, and that Montana law would apply to any dispute (to the extent not preempted by federal law).

The loan went into default. The bank foreclosed upon its collateral, applied the proceeds to the debt, and initiated a lawsuit against the Swansons and Speaker in Ravalli County, Montana. The Swansons obtained a discharge of their obligation to the bank in a bankruptcy court proceeding.

Speaker was served in California with the summons and complaint in the Montana action, but filed no response. The bank caused Speaker's default and default judgment to be entered and obtained a deficiency judgment against her in the amount of $158,054.71.

The bank filed an application in Sutter County for entry of judgment on sister-state judgment. Judgment was entered in Sutter County against Speaker in the amount of $168,283.31 (the amount of the Montana judgment plus interest and filing fees).

Speaker filed a motion to vacate the California judgment entered pursuant to the Act, on the grounds the Montana court lacked jurisdiction over her; she has "viable defenses" to the civil action, had it been filed in California (including failure of consideration, lack of reliance, lack of disclosure, and lack of legal standing); she did not receive notice of the Montana proceedings in sufficient time to defend herself; and Montana was a "seriously inconvenient forum." Speaker argued in ...


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