Enforcing out of state judgments in North Carolina is typically a straightforward matter. The North Carolina Uniform Enforcement of Foreign Judgments Act permits a judgment from another state to be recorded and enforced the same as if it had originally been entered in a North Carolina court, so long as the Act's procedures are correctly followed.
At first blush, the Act appears to allow a Defendant to raise any defense to enforcement of the foreign judgment that it would have had in North Carolina court. Indeed, this is how the trial court read Section 1C-1703(C) in DOCRX, Inc. v. EMI Servies of NC, LLC, COA12-783.
In DOCRX, the Defendant opposed enforcement of an Alabama judgment on grounds that fraud occurred during the course of the plaintiff obtaining the judgment in the Alabama trial court (the opinion does not provide any information about what this alleged fraud was, unfortunately). Since 1C-1703(c) allows a defendant to use "any... ground for which relief from a judgment of this State would be allowed."
Following that, the trial court noted that Rule 60(a)(3) of the North Carolina Rules of Civil Procedure permit a defendant to move for relief from a judgment on grounds of "fraud (whether heretofore denominated intrinsic or extrinsic), misrepresentation, or other misconduct of an adverse party." Reading the two sections together, the trial court found that the Alabama judgment had procured via what it called "intrinsic" fraud, and therefore, invoking the Rule 60 defense it believed was available to the defendant via its reading of 1C-1703(c), denied the Plaintiff's motion to enforce the foreign judgment.
The Court of Appeals, however, noted that the Full Faith and Credit Clause of the US Constitution limits which state law defenses are available under the Uniform Enforcement of Foreign Judgments Act. Reviewing decisions from other states (which had expressly ruled on the issue), as well as prior decisions in North Carolina (which had not, but whose opinions had been consistent with those from other states), the Court of Appeals held that "intrinsic" fraud is not a valid defense to a foreign judgment. Had the fraud been found to have been "extrinsic" the defendant would have had a valid defense. Accordingly, the Court of Appeals vacated the trial court's order denying the plaintiff's motion to enforce.