Requesting postjudgment costs and attorneys fees in California is the topic of this blog post.
This blog post will discuss requesting postjudgment costs and attorneys fees in California that may be recoverable if the court determines they were reasonable and necessary costs of enforcing a judgment under Code of Civil Procedure section 685.040.
I want to point out that postjudgment costs must be requested within two years from the date that they were incurred and before the judgment is satisfied or the costs will be disallowed.
Some postjudgment costs such as fees incurred in regard to abstracts of judgment or notice of judgment liens, may be claimed as a matter of right under Code of Civil Procedure section 685.070. These costs do not require the filing of a motion.
In certain situations attorney’s fees, costs for court reporters, experts, private investigators, printing, copying, scanning, postage, phone conferencing services, and legal database access charges may be considered reasonable and necessary costs of enforcing a judgment.
A motion for postjudgment costs and attorney’ fees should be filed in order to request reasonable and necessary costs of enforcing a judgment under Code of Civil Procedure section 685.040.
Code of Civil Procedure § 685.040 states that,
“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.”
Attorney fees incurred to enforce payment of fees and costs awarded under section 425.16, subdivision (c), are recoverable under section 685.040. This means that attorney fees incurred to enforce an award in favor of the prevailing party on an anti-SLAPP special motion to strike may be recovered.
Attorney’s fees incurred to enforce a judgment that included an award of contractual attorney’s fees are generally recoverable.
Situations where a judge may award discretionary costs include cases where the judgment debtor has attempted to hide, or has hidden assets, has repeatedly moved to evade paying the judgment, refused to appear for judgment debtor examinations or refused to produce requested documents.
Code of Civil Procedure § 685.080 states that,
“(a) 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.
(b) The notice of motion shall describe the costs claimed, shall state their amount, and shall be supported by an affidavit of a person who has knowledge of the facts stating that to the person’s best knowledge and belief the costs are correct, are reasonable and necessary, and have not been satisfied. The notice of motion shall be served on the judgment debtor. Service shall be made personally or by mail.
(c) The court shall make an order allowing or disallowing the costs to the extent justified under the circumstances of the case.”
The California Courts of Appeal have stated in published decisions that attorney’s fees can be awarded even if the judgment creditor does not achieve success, and that the right to recover attorney’s fees is not dependent on the nature of the action or the forum in which expenses were incurred.
A party filing a motion for postjudgment costs and attorneys fees in California should be sure to include enough facts and evidence in their supporting declaration to meet their burden of showing that the requested costs and attorney’s fees were reasonable and necessary costs of enforcing a judgment under Code of Civil Procedure section 685.040.
Sample motion for postjudgment costs and attorneys fees in California available for sale.
Attorneys or parties in California that would like to view a portion of a sample 12 page motion for an award of postjudgment costs and attorneys fees in California containing brief instructions, a memorandum of points and authorities with citations to case law and statutory authority and sample declaration sold by the author can see below.
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