Wyman v. Newhouse – Case Brief
Wyman v. Newhouse, 93 F.2d 313 (2d Cir. 1937).
Facts: Wyman (P), a resident of Florida, and Newhouse (D) were both married to other persons and were involved in an extramarital relationship together for several years. After Wyman’s husband died she sent him a letter stating that her mother was dying and that she would be leaving the U.S. permanently and that she wanted to see him again before she left.
Newhouse went to Florida and was served with process when he arrived at the airport. Wyman sued Newhouse for money loaned, money advanced, and seduction under the promise of marriage. Wyman had lied in order to get Newhouse to come to Florida so that she could serve him with process. Newhouse’s attorney advised him to ignore the summons and judgment was entered by default.
When P sought to enforce the judgment, D collaterally attacked the judgment on the grounds that the Florida court lacked personal jurisdiction. The court granted D’s motion to dismiss the complaint and P appealed.
Issue: Is a judgment based on service of process procured by fraud invalid?
Holding and Rule: Yes. A judgment based on service of process procured by fraud is invalid. D was fraudulently induced to come to Florida. The court held that any judgment procured by fraud is invalid. D was not required to argue the merits in the original action in Florida. An erroneous judgment may be attacked collaterally.
Notes: Service of process based on fraud is invalid in those states having a statute to that effect, and is ineffective in establishing personal jurisdiction. When the first court enters a default judgment, the defendant may raise the fraud or duress defense as part of a collateral attack when the judgment is enforced in another state.