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03/05/97 LA SOCIETE ANONYME GORO AND TITAN

March 5, 1997

LA SOCIETE ANONYME GORO AND TITAN FASTENERS, INC., PETITIONERS-APPELLANTS,
v.
CONVEYOR ACCESSORIES, INC., RESPONDENT-APPELLEE.



Appeal from the Circuit Court of Du Page County. No. 94--MR--0690. Honorable Bonnie M. Wheaton, Judge, Presiding.

Released for Publication April 7, 1997.

The Honorable Justice Hutchinson delivered the opinion of the court. McLAREN and Doyle, JJ., concur

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Hutchinson

JUSTICE HUTCHINSON delivered the opinion of the court:

Petitioners, La Societe Anonyme Goro and Titan Fasteners, Inc., appeal the trial court's judgment denying their petition to register a judgment in Du Page County against respondent, Conveyor Accessories, Inc. The Tribunal de Commerce de Paris, in Paris, France, initially entered the judgment, and the Cour D'Appel de Paris, also in Paris, France, modified, but otherwise confirmed, the judgment. The issues on appeal are: (1) whether the trial court erred in determining that the petition is barred by the five-year statute of limitations applicable to actions for which a specific limitations period is not provided; (2) whether, if the underlying action is barred, petitioners' claim for interest payments due during the five years preceding the filing of the petition is valid; and (3) whether the appeal was taken for an improper purpose and petitioners should, therefore, be sanctioned pursuant to Supreme Court Rule 375 (155 Ill. 2d R. 375). We reverse and remand.

On May 13, 1987, the Tribunal de Commerce de Paris entered a judgment for petitioners. On June 6, 1989, the Cour D'Appel de Paris modified, but otherwise confirmed, the judgment.

On October 26, 1994, petitioners filed a petition in the circuit court of Du Page County to register the foreign judgment. Respondent objected, contending, inter alia, that the action was barred under section 13--205 of the Code of Civil Procedure (the Code) (735 ILCS 5/13--205 (West 1994)), which provides that all civil actions not otherwise provided for shall be commenced within five years after the cause of action accrued. See 735 ILCS 5/13--205 (West 1994). Petitioners asserted that, because of certain statutory amendments, petitions to register a foreign-country judgment are now governed by the seven-year statute of limitations applicable to the enforcement of Illinois judgments. Alternatively, petitioners argued that their action for the interest on the judgment was not time barred.

On September 27, 1995, the trial court held that the petition was barred by the five-year statute of limitations governed under section 13--205 of the Code. On February 8, 1996, the trial court denied petitioners' motion to reconsider. The memorandum opinion and order of the trial court did not specifically address the issue regarding the collection of interest on the judgment. However, the transcript of the proceedings indicates that the trial court determined that, because the judgment could not be registered, petitioners could not, therefore, collect the interest. Petitioners filed a timely notice of appeal.

Petitioners' first argument on appeal is that the trial court erred in determining that the petition to register the foreign-country judgment is time barred. We agree.

The enforcement of non-Illinois judgments is governed under two uniform statutes. The Uniform Enforcement of Foreign Judgments Act (the Foreign Judgments Act) (735 ILCS 5/12--650 through 12--657 (West 1994)) governs the enrollment and enforcement of judgments of courts of the United States and any other courts, the judgments of which are entitled to full faith and credit in Illinois. See 735 ILCS 5/12--651 (West 1994). The Uniform Foreign Money-Judgments Recognition Act (the Recognition Act) (735 ILCS 5/12-- 618 through 12--626 (West 1994)) governs the recognition of judgments of any governmental unit other than the United States. The Recognition Act also provides that a foreign judgment that is final, conclusive, and enforceable where rendered is conclusive between the parties. 735 ILCS 5/12--619, 12--620 (West 1994). Further, a foreign judgment is enforceable in the same manner as the judgment of a sister state that is entitled to full faith and credit. 735 ILCS 5/12--620 (West 1994); see also Pinnacle Arabians, Inc. v. Schmidt, 274 Ill. App. 3d 504, 507, 210 Ill. Dec. 963, 654 N.E.2d 262 (1995).

Neither of these statutory acts specifically provides a limitations period for the enforcement of non-Illinois judgments. Prior to 1991, the registration and enforcement of sister-state judgments was governed by sections 12--601 through 12--617 of the Code, which also contained no specific limitations period. Therefore, prior to 1991, an action to register a foreign judgment, whether from another state or another country, was considered civil in nature. Because no specific limitations period was provided, Illinois courts applied the five-year statute of limitations to such actions. In re Marriage of Kramer, 253 Ill. App. 3d 923, 926-27, 192 Ill. Dec. 653, 625 N.E.2d 808 (1993).

However, effective September 9, 1991, the Illinois legislature repealed sections 12--601 through 12--617 of the Code and adopted the Foreign Judgments Act to implement the full faith and credit clause of the United States Constitution (U.S. Const., art. IV, ยง 1) and to facilitate the interstate enforcement of judgments. See Practice Management Associates, Inc. v. Thurston, 225 Ill. App. 3d 470, 473, 167 Ill. Dec. 767, 588 N.E.2d 408 (1992). Section 12--652 of the Foreign Judgments Act states:

"A copy of any foreign judgment authenticated in accordance with the acts of Congress or the statutes of this State may be filed in the office of the circuit clerk for any county of this State. The clerk shall treat the foreign judgment in the same manner as a judgment of the circuit court for any county of this State. A judgment so filed has the same effect and is subject to the same procedures, defenses and proceedings for reopening, vacating, or staying as a judgment of a circuit court for any county of this State and may be enforced or satisfied in like manner." 735 ILCS 5/12--652 (West 1994).

In Johnson v. Johnson, 267 Ill. App. 3d 253, 255, 204 Ill. Dec. 728, 642 N.E.2d 190 (1994), we held that, since the adoption of the Foreign Judgments Act, the seven-year limitations period for enforcing an Illinois judgment applies to the enrollment and enforcement of a ...


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