THE SUPREME COURT OF THE
FEDERATE STATES OF MICRONESIA
Cite as Joeten Motor Co. v. Jae Joong Hwang ,
7 FSM Intrm. 326 (Chk. S. Ct. Tr. 1995)

[7 FSM Intrm. 326]

JOETEN MOTOR CO., INC.,
Plaintiff,

vs.

JAE JOONG HWANG a/k/a MORI HWANG,
Defendant.

CA No. 234-94

ORDER GRANTING MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

Wanis R. Simina
Associate Justice

Decided:  November 29, 1995

APPEARANCES:
For the Plaintiff:          Kathleen B. Alvarado, Esq.
                                     Law Offices of R. Barrie Michelsen
                                     P.O. Box 1450
                                     Kolonia, Pohnpei FM 96941

For the Defendant:     Jae Joong Hwang (pro se)
                                     Weno, Chuuk FM 96942

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HEADNOTES
Jurisdiction
     It is the duty of the court to insure jurisdiction exists.  The fact that the defendant has not challenged the allegation of jurisdiction does not confer jurisdiction on the court if none exists.  Joeten Motor Co. v. Jae Joong Hwang, 7 FSM Intrm. 326, 327 (Chk. S. Ct. Tr. 1995).
 
Courts; Jurisdiction
     The Chuuk State Supreme Court is a court of general jurisdiction with concurrent original subject matter jurisdiction with other courts to try all civil cases except those matters that are within the exclusive jurisdiction of the national courts.  Joeten Motor Co. v. Jae Joong Hwang, 7 FSM Intrm. 326, 327 (Chk. S. Ct. Tr. 1995).

Jurisdiction ) Personal
     The Chuuk State Supreme Court has personal jurisdiction in civil cases only over persons residing or found in the State and who have been duly summoned.  Joeten Motor Co. v. Jae Joong Hwang, 7 FSM Intrm. 326, 327 (Chk. S. Ct. Tr. 1995).

[7 FSM Intrm. 327]

Jurisdiction
     A court with both subject matter jurisdiction of the case and personal jurisdiction over the defendant has complete jurisdiction of the matter.  Joeten Motor Co. v. Jae Joong Hwang, 7 FSM Intrm. 326, 327 (Chk. S. Ct. Tr. 1995).

Evidence ) Authentication; Judgments
     A certified copy of a judgment from a foreign court is admissible evidence as a properly authenticated public record of that jurisdiction.  Joeten Motor Co. v. Jae Joong Hwang, 7 FSM Intrm. 326, 327 (Chk. S. Ct. Tr. 1995).

*    *    *    *

COURT'S OPINION
WANIS R. SIMINA, Associate Justice:
     The plaintiff above named filed its complaint alleging monies due and owing from the defendant as a result of a foreign judgment.  The defendant answered and admitted that, although a foreign national, he is a resident of Chuuk State.  The defendant also admitted that this court has jurisdiction over the matter.

     Thereafter, the plaintiff filed a Motion for Summary Judgment pursuant to Rule 56 of our Rules of Civil Procedure.  This motion included, as exhibit A, a copy of a Judgment rendered in the Superior Court of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands [CNMI] against the defendant and in favor of the plaintiff.  This exhibit was certified by the Clerk of the CNMI Superior Court in which the judgment was rendered.  The defendant filed a pleading entitled "Answer to Motion for Summary Judgment" stating that he did not oppose the motion the plaintiff's motion for Summary Judgment.  The motion is now ripe for decision by the court.

     First, the court must determine whether or not it has jurisdiction to entertain this action as it is the duty of the court to insure jurisdiction exists.  Barker v. Paul, 6 FSM Intrm. 473, 475, 1 CSR 1, 2 (Chk. S. Ct. App. 1994).  The fact that the defendant has not challenged the allegation of jurisdiction does not confer jurisdiction on the court if none exists.

     The Chuuk State Constitution vests this court with "concurrent original jurisdiction with other courts to try all civil . . . cases . . . ."  Chk. Const. art. VII, 3(b).  Thus, this court is a court of general jurisdiction and has subject matter jurisdiction in all civil cases excepting those matters that are within the exclusive jurisdiction of the national courts.  There is nothing in the nature of this case which would lead this court to believe that the subject matter underlying the plaintiff's cause of action is within the exclusive jurisdiction of the national courts.

     Chk. S.L. 190-08, 6 gives this court personal jurisdiction "in civil cases only over persons residing or found in the State and who have been duly summoned . . . ." This case meets both of these requirements.  Consequently, this court has both subject matter and personal jurisdiction of the case and defendant.  Accordingly, the court is satisfied that it has complete jurisdiction of this matter.

     The evidence before the court in exhibit A, attached to plaintiff's motion, is a certified copy of a judgment from a foreign court.  As a court document, it is a public record of that jurisdiction and has been properly authenticated by the custodian of those records, the Clerk of the CNMI Superior Court.  Chk. Evid. R. 902(3).

[7 FSM Intrm. 328]

     The defendant has neither challenged the authenticity of exhibit A nor has he interposed any legal defense to the judgment represented by the document.  As a result, the court must find that there is no genuine issue of fact at issue in this matter. Further based on exhibit A the plaintiff is entitled as a matter of law to judgment against the defendant for monies owing pursuant to CNMI judgment.  Pursuant to Rule 56, it is

     Ordered that the plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment is hereby granted.