2020 New Mexico Statutes
Chapter 37 - Limitation of Actions; Abatement and Revivor
Article 1 - Limitations of Actions
Section 37-1-2 - Judgments.

Universal Citation: NM Stat § 37-1-2 (2020)

Actions founded upon any judgment of any court of the state may be brought within fourteen years from the date of the judgment, and not afterward. Actions founded upon any judgment of any court of record of any other state or territory of the United States, or of the federal courts, may be brought within the applicable period of limitation within that jurisdiction, not to exceed fourteen years from the date of the judgment, and not afterward.

History: Laws 1891, ch. 53, § 2; C.L. 1897, § 2914; Code 1915, § 3347; C.S. 1929, § 83-102; 1941 Comp., § 27-102; 1953 Comp., § 23-1-2; Laws 1965, ch. 282, § 3; 1983, ch. 259, § 1.


Saving clauses. — Laws 1983, ch. 259, § 3, provided that nothing in the act shall be construed to revive a judgment for which the statute of limitation has expired under prior law.

Limitation not vested right. — A right, fully matured under existing law, to defeat a debt by plea of the statute of limitations is neither a vested right nor a property right, and may be taken away at will by the legislature. Orman v. Van Arsdell, 1904-NMSC-024, 12 N.M. 344, 78 P. 48.

Application to pre-1983 judgment. — This section allows a judgment creditor to bring an action to revive a judgment for a period of 14 years after its entry. Pursuant to 39-1-20 NMSA 1978, execution may issue at any time within seven years after the rendition or revival of the judgment. This includes judgments entered prior to the 1983 amendment of this section, which lengthened the original seven-year revival period. Fischoff v. Tometich, 1991-NMCA-144, 113 N.M. 271, 824 P.2d 1073.

Statutes of limitation are procedural and not substantive in nature and are governed by the law of the forum. Slade v. Slade, 1970-NMSC-064, 81 N.M. 462, 468 P.2d 627.

Construed in pari materia. — This section and Rule 1-058, N.M.R. Civ. P. (now Rule 1-058 NMRA), shall be read in pari materia. Navajo Dev. Corp. v. Ruidoso Land Sales Co., Inc., 1977-NMSC-094, 91 N.M. 142, 571 P.2d 409.

Judgment deemed rendered when entered of record. — Within the contemplation of this section, a judgment is not completely and effectively rendered until it has been entered of record. Navajo Dev. Corp. v. Ruidoso Land Sales Co., Inc., 1977-NMSC-094, 91 N.M. 142, 571 P.2d 409.

Domesticated judgment. — When a judgment by a federal bankruptcy court is domesticated in a district court in New Mexico, that court has jurisdiction to address and resolve issues concerning the judgment, including revival thereof; however, the district court lacks jurisdiction if the judgment has not been properly domesticated pursuant to the Foreign Judgment Act, Section 39-4A-1 NMSA 1978 et. seq. Walter E. Heller W., Inc. v. Ditto, 1998-NMCA-068, 125 N.M. 226, 959 P.2d 560, cert. denied, 125 N.M. 147, 958 P.2d 105.

Actions to domesticate a foreign judgment are governed by this section, and as such these actions must be brought within the applicable period of limitation for foreign judgments, 14 years. Accordingly, a 1989 judgment on the domestication issue converted the foreign judgment into a New Mexico judgment from which date the applicable state statutes of limitations commenced running. Plaintiff's 1992 action for a charging order based on the 1989 judgment satisfied the three alternative state statutes of limitations (37-1-4, 39-1-20, 37-1-2 NMSA 1978) and does not force a decision on the "correct" statute. Galef v. Buena Vista Dairy, 1994-NMCA-068, 117 N.M. 701, 875 P.2d 1132.

Full faith and credit for foreign judgments. — While forum states may apply their own statutes of limitations for the enforcement of foreign judgments, they must treat foreign judgments that are revived in the rendering state in the same manner as the rendering state would treat the revived judgment. Schmierer v. The Tribal Trust, 2018-NMCA-058, cert. denied.

Where plaintiff filed a petition seeking domestication and enforcement of a California state court judgment that she obtained in 1989 and revived in 1999, and where the district court held that New Mexico's fourteen-year statute for enforcement of a judgment ran from the date of the California judgment in 1989 making the California judgment time-barred and not properly subject to domestication, the district court erred in determining that the petition was time-barred, because regardless of whether the revival of the California judgment renewed the effectiveness of the California judgment for an additional period or whether the revival created a new judgment, a renewed or revived foreign judgment is entitled to full faith and credit. Schmierer v. The Tribal Trust, 2018-NMCA-058, cert. denied.

Limitations of forum on foreign judgment. — The New Mexico statutes of limitation are applicable to an action on a Kansas judgment for child support. Slade v. Slade, 1970-NMSC-064, 81 N.M. 462, 468 P.2d 627.

Foreclosure of mortgage. — A decree of foreclosure of a mortgage is not such a judgment as becomes inoperative after seven years from its rendition. Crowell v. Kopp, 1919-NMSC-065, 26 N.M. 146, 189 P. 652.

Enforcing deficiency judgment. — In foreclosure proceedings there is both a decree of foreclosure and a common-law judgment for the money, and where the right to enforce the latter is postponed until after sale, and then only for the deficiency, limitations run only from the date of the ascertainment of the deficiency, and execution therefor. Kerr v. Hardwick, 1923-NMSC-056, 28 N.M. 602, 216 P. 503.

Child support judgment. — A Kansas judgment for periodic child support payments is a judgment in installments, each of which becomes vested when due and unpaid, and the statute of limitations begins to run on each installment at the moment it vests. Slade v. Slade, 1970-NMSC-064, 81 N.M. 462, 468 P.2d 627.

This section applies to an action to collect accrued and unpaid periodic child support installments mandated in a New Mexico divorce decree. Britton v. Britton, 1983-NMSC-084, 100 N.M. 424, 671 P.2d 1135.

Support claim barred. — Where last of minor children for whom support money had been decreed reach the age of 21 years more than seven years before claim for further support money was filed against the father's estate, the claim was barred by limitations prior to the father's death. In re Coe's Estate, 1952-NMSC-078, 56 N.M. 578, 247 P.2d 162.

Claim against estate. — A judgment of allowance of a claim against an estate is not a complete and effective judgment until the order on the administrator to pay is obtained, and a procedure to obtain such an order is not an action on such a judgment under this statute. Gutierrez v. Scholle, 1904-NMSC-022, 12 N.M. 328, 78 P. 50.

Accrued interest on judgment. — A suit for interest accrued on a judgment is a suit on the judgment itself and governed by the general statute of limitations concerning judgments unless removed therefrom by some specific statute. Keeter v. Board of Cnty. Comm'rs, 1960-NMSC-070, 67 N.M. 201, 354 P.2d 135.

Award of discovery sanctions. — Because the award of sanctions is not an action on the judgment, the court is not limited by the statutory bar of fourteen years and a party may be held accountable for an abuse of the discovery process under the court's inherent powers to impose sanctions at any time, subject to constitutional limitations or equitable defenses. Gonzales v. Surgidev Corp., 1995-NMSC-047, 120 N.M. 151, 899 P.2d 594.

Scire facias to revive a judgment is included in word "action" in this section. Browne v. Chavez, 181 U.S. 68, 21 S. Ct. 514, 45 L. Ed. 752 (1901).

Scire facias not maintainable after running of statute. — After a judgment is barred under the statute, a scire facias giving a new right of action and avoiding the statute cannot be maintained. Browne v. Chavez, 181 U.S. 68, 21 S. Ct. 514, 45 L. Ed. 752 (1901).

Action on a judgment not time barred. — Where defendant entered into a stipulated judgment for approximately $36,000 in July 1987, and where the 1987 judgment was eventually transferred to plaintiff, who filed suit on the 1987 judgment in June 2001, in which judgment was entered in plaintiff's favor in June 2002, and where plaintiff filed suit on the 2002 judgment in 2009, in which judgment was entered in plaintiff's favor in September 2009, and where plaintiff filed its "complaint on judgment" stating that it was the holder of a judgment against defendant and citing to the unpaid 2009 judgment, the district court erred in dismissing the 2016 lawsuit on the grounds that it was barred by this section, because New Mexico law permits judgment creditors, during the life of a judgment, to bring an action upon the judgment and obtain a new judgment upon which the limitations period will run again; plaintiff's 2016 lawsuit was an action on the 2009 judgment and therefore not barred under this section. Cadle Co. Seavall, 2019-NMCA-062.

Judgment lien expires with judgment. — The period of limitation applicable to judgment liens is the seven years provided by this section, with the important qualification that the enforceability of the judgment lien expires with the judgment upon which it is founded. Western States Collection Co. v. Shain, 1971-NMSC-102, 83 N.M. 203, 490 P.2d 461.

The lien created by the statute authorizing recordation of a transcript of the docket thereof is a right as distinguished from a remedy, and if the remedy of foreclosure of the judgment lien prayed for in a counterclaim is barred, the lien has been extinguished. Pugh v. Heating & Plumbing Fin. Corp., 1945-NMSC-031, 49 N.M. 234, 161 P.2d 714.

The lien of a money judgment does not continue after the judgment on which it is founded has become barred, though the statute which provides for creation of the lien is silent as to any limitation upon such lien. Pugh v. Heating & Plumbing Fin. Corp., 1945-NMSC-031, 49 N.M. 234, 161 P.2d 714.

When a judgment can no longer be enforced by reason of this section, the judgment lien, subject perhaps to displacement as to priority of intervening liens or encumbrances, becomes unenforceable with it. Pugh v. Heating & Plumbing Fin. Corp., 1945-NMSC-031, 49 N.M. 234, 161 P.2d 714.

Judgment lien barred by limitations remains cloud upon title and a party is entitled to seek a decree to discharge such cloud. Pugh v. Heating & Plumbing Fin. Corp., 1945-NMSC-031, 49 N.M. 234, 161 P.2d 714.

Appeal does not toll period for execution upon judgment. — Since an appeal does not postpone or suspend the operation of the statute of limitations from the date of entry of a final judgment, unless a supersedeas bond is posted or a stay of enforcement is ordered by the court, an appeal from a final judgment does not toll the period during which a judgment holder may execute upon the judgment. Farms v. Carlsbad Riverside Terrace Apts., Inc., 1984-NMCA-103, 102 N.M. 50, 690 P.2d 1044.

Remarriage of parties tolls statute on divorce judgment. — The running of the statute on a former wife's action to enforce the judgment entered after her first divorce was tolled during the remarriage of the parties, the remarriage having been followed by a second divorce. Dolezal v. Blevins, 1987-NMCA-028, 105 N.M. 562, 734 P.2d 802.

Payment of extinguished lien not condition of quieting title. — Where a judgment lien has been forfeited through running of the statute of limitations, payment of the judgment for which the lien on real estate is claimed will not be necessary as a condition of removing a cloud on the title caused by the record of the lien. Pugh v. Heating & Plumbing Fin. Corp., 1945-NMSC-031, 49 N.M. 234, 161 P.2d 714.

Cancellation of deed. — Where plaintiff sues to quiet title to land whose title was held void 15 years earlier, and defendant counterclaims that the deed is void, citing the previous court proceedings, this section does not apply because defendant's cause of action is not an action on a judgment, but to cancel a void deed. Gabaldon v. Westland Dev. Co., 485 F.2d 263 (10th Cir. 1973).

Presence of codebtor bars tolling of statute. — Where one of two cojudgment debtors remains within the jurisdiction at all times, statute of limitations is not tolled though the other codebtor is absent from the jurisdiction of the court for a portion of the seven-year period. Pugh v. Heating & Plumbing Fin. Corp., 1945-NMSC-031, 49 N.M. 234, 161 P.2d 714.

Nonresidence as defense to action on foreign judgment. — In an action on a foreign judgment, where the answer pleads limitations, and the reply sets up nonresidence as a defense, a judgment entered upon the theory that defendants had agreed to file an affidavit as to residence, and had failed to do so, was irregular, in that there is no statute or order of court requiring it. Northcutt v. King, 1917-NMSC-083, 23 N.M. 515, 169 P. 473.

Priority of liens. — Where execution on a judgment was issued four times within a five-year period although order of revivor was subsequently obtained, the judgment lien did not become dormant; hence a purchaser at an execution sale less than seven years after judgment was entitled to priority over purchaser at special master's sale under judgment docketed subsequently. Otero v. Dietz, 1934-NMSC-084, 39 N.M. 1, 37 P.2d 1110.

Law reviews. — For annual survey of New Mexico law of civil procedure, 19 N.M.L. Rev. 627 (1990).

Am. Jur. 2d, A.L.R. and C.J.S. references. — 47 Am. Jur. 2d Judgments § 969 et seq.

Death of judgment debtor as affecting running of statute of limitations against judgment, 2 A.L.R. 1706.

Suspension, or removal of bar, of statute of limitations as against judgment, 21 A.L.R. 1038, 166 A.L.R. 768.

Inclusion and exclusion of first and last day for purposes of statute of limitations, 20 A.L.R.2d 1249.

When does statute of limitations begin to run upon an action by subrogated insurer against third-party tort-feasor, 91 A.L.R.3d 844.

50 C.J.S. Judgments §§ 854, 871.

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