Awarding Attorneys’ Fees and Costs for Enforcing a Judgment

Awarding Attorneys’ Fees and Costs for Enforcing a Judgment

On Behalf of | Jul 31, 2022 | Debt Collection

What costs are recoverable when enforcing a California money judgment?

Under California law, the judgment creditor is entitled to the reasonable and necessary costs of enforcing a judgment. California Code of Civil Procedure §685.070 specifically allows the judgment creditor as a matter of right to collect the following costs:

  • Statutory fees for preparing and issuing, and recording and indexing, an abstract of judgment or a certified copy of a judgment;
  • Statutory fees for filing a notice of judgment lien on personal property;
  • Statutory fees for issuing a writ for the enforcement of the judgment to the extent that the fees are not satisfied pursuant to Section 685.050;
  • Statutory costs of the levying officer for performing the duties under a writ;
  • Statutory fee of the levying officer for performing the duties under the Wage Garnishment Law;
  • Reasonable and necessary costs incurred in connection with debtor’s examinations and certain other enforcement proceedings.

There are often other “reasonable and necessary” enforcement expenses that are left to the court’s discretion and the judgment creditor must file a noticed motion with the court to determine whether these costs will be allowed.

When is a Judgment creditor is entitled to post-judgment attorneys’ fees and costs?

A judgment credit is entitled to post-judgment attorneys’ fees and costs if the underlying Judgment included an award of attorneys’ fees. A creditor must file a noticed motion within two years of incurring said attorneys’ fees and costs.

Adding post-judgment attorneys’ fees and costs is part of an overall strategy that I recommend to gain additional leverage over the Judgment debtor and demonstrate that you are aggressively enforcing your Judgment.

“The judgment creditor is entitled to the reasonable and necessary costs of enforcing a judgment. Attorney’s fees incurred in enforcing a judgment are not included in costs collectible under this title unless otherwise provided by law. Attorney’s fees incurred in enforcing a judgment are included as costs collectible under this title if the underlying judgment includes an award of attorney’s fees to the judgment creditor pursuant to subparagraph (A) of paragraph (10) of subdivision (a) of Section 1033.5.” See CCP §§ 685.040.

“The judgment creditor may claim costs authorized by Section 685.040 by noticed motion.  The motion shall be made before the judgment is satisfied in full, but not later than two years after the costs have been incurred.  The costs claimed under this section may include, but are not limited to, costs that may be claimed under Section 685.070 and costs incurred but not approved by the court or referee in a proceeding under Chapter 6 (commencing with Section 708.010 ) of Division 2.” See CCP § 685.080(a).

For more information on the commercial collection process, contact the Law Offices of Ronald P. Slates.

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