Reset A A Font size: Print

District Court of Appeal, Second District, Division 1, California.


Civ. 12675.

Decided: January 15, 1942

Meserve, Mumper & Hughes and Roy L. Herndon, all of Los Angeles, for appellant. Mathes & Sheppard, of Los Angeles, Thomas J. Herbert, Atty. Gen. of Ohio, E. S. Lindemann and E. J. Halambeck, Sp. Counsel to Atty. Gen., both of Cleveland, Ohio, and Gordon F. Hampton, of Los Angeles, for respondent.

This is a companion case to S. H. Squire, as Superintendent of Banks of the State of Ohio, in Charge of the Liquidation of Business and Property of Guardian Trust Company, Plaintiff and Respondent, v. Cliffe U. Merriam, Defendant and Appellant, 121 P.2d 534, and S. H. Squire, as Superintendent of Banks of the State of Ohio, in Charge of Liquidation of Business and Property of Union Trust Company, Plaintiff and Respondent v. Cliffe U. Merriam, 121 P.2d 538, this day decided. What we have said in our main opinion applies with like effect to this case, because the bank failed February 27, 1933, and the complaint was filed May 29, 1936.

Also, what we have said relative to the application of the full faith and credit clause of our Federal Constitution, art. 4, § 1, applies to this case. In this case the parties have argued this latter proposition at greater length than in the companion cases referred to, and evidently the trial court in its decision felt it was bound under the terms of the full faith and credit rule to render judgment for the plaintiff, notwithstanding the fact that the bank failed on the date above mentioned.

For this reason, we will amplify somewhat what we have heretofore said in respect to the full faith and credit rule as applied to these cases.

To state the cases here under review, is to demonstrate that the constitutional provision does not apply. The controlling factor is the date when the obligation was created. Having determined when the obligation was created, then we apply the time factor of our section 359, Code of Civil Procedure. In other words, the plaintiff in these cases brings with him his cause of action from the State of Ohio, and in the State of California we apply to that cause of action our statute of limitations.

It cannot be seriously contended that the full faith and credit clause of the Federal Constitution denies the right to any state to enact and enforce a reasonable statute of limitations as to causes of action presented to the courts of that state. This is elementary law.

It is equally elementary that the law of the place where an action is brought governs as to the remedy, regardless of the law where the obligation arose.

“It is a universal principle that the forum governs the limitation of actions within its borders and that laws controlling limitations are part of the law of every forum. Such laws, subject to exceptions which are discussed hereinafter, are universally held to affect the remedy; and therefore, in the absence of a statute of the forum changing the rule, the statutes of limitation of the place where the action is brought and the remedy is sought to be enforced, and not those of the place where the contract was made, the right in tort arose, or the plaintiff resides, or of the domicile of one or the other of the persons affected by the litigation, control in the event of a conflict of laws. In short, the lex fori determines the time within which a cause of action shall be enforced.” 11 Am.Jur., p. 505. (Italics ours.)

There is nothing in the full faith and credit clause which gives to judgments or laws of sister states greater force than our own laws and judgments. In applying the full faith and credit clause to judgments of sister states, we are not required to give greater faith and credit to said judgments than to those of the courts of this state. Hammell v. Britton, 19 Cal.2d 72, 119 P.2d 333.

Respondent argues at length that, under the full faith and credit clause, our California courts must enforce the finding of the Ohio superintendent of banks in which he assessed the liability of the defendant stockholder. If the statute law of Ohio giving to the superintendent of banks this exclusive power had been in effect on the date this bank failed, we would then have to meet this question. This is not necessary because, under the facts in this case, the bank failed February 27, 1933, and the statute was amended March 31, 1933, for the first time giving the Ohio superintendent of banks this power.

Some decisions of the Ohio Court of Appeals state that before the statute was amended there was an exclusive power implied in the superintendent of banks to levy the assessment. As we have heretofore stated, the case of Snider v. United Banking & Trust Co., 124 Ohio St. 375, 178 N.E. 840, formulated the Ohio rule which it is our duty to follow in this case. In so following that rule of the Supreme Court of Ohio, we do not violate the full faith and credit clause of the Constitution of the United States.

The judgment is reversed.

DRAPEAU, Justice pro tem.

YORK, P. J., and DORAN, J., concurred.