Collecting a judgment can be one of the more difficult and frustrating parts of a commercial collections case. We have found the following to be highly, effective ways to enforce a Judgment in California:
- Levy a bank account including a safe deposit box;
- Levy a vehicle; and
- Serve a third-party debtor examination.
Now, what happens if the judgment you want to enforce is out of state?
A Judgment entered in another state, a Sister-State Judgment, may be enforced in California. If a creditor previously obtained an out of state judgment, and now wishes to collect it in California, then the judgment must be registered in California courts. A reason for this is that the California Sheriff’s Department is only authorized to enforce California judgments. Determining the Court If the debtor lives in California, the creditor must file the forms in the county in which the debtor lives. If the debtor does not live in California, but has assets in the state, then the forms may be filed at the county courthouse that serves the jurisdiction where the property is located.
Put simply, you must first domesticate the Sister-State Judgment. A sister-state (or “out-of-state”) judgment is defined as “that part of any judgment, decree, or order of a court of a state of the United States, other than California, which requires the payment of money, but does not include a support order as defined in Section 155 of the Family Code.” Cal. Code of Civ. Proc. § 1710.10.
To domesticate, a creditor must:
- Obtain an exemplified and certified copy of the Judgment from the originating state;
- Identify the specific code section that provides for post-judgment interest (specifically, the post-judgment interest rate) from the originating state;
- File California Judicial Council Forms: CM-010; EJ-105; EJ-110; and
- Serve the Clerk’s issued copy of the Notice of Entry of Judgment on Sister-State Judgment (EJ-110) on the debtor(s) in the same manner as a Summons and Complaint.