Collecting Federal Court Judgments in California

To collect a judgment entered in federal court or bankruptcy court in California, the judgment enforcement steps are typically taken in federal court (rather than state court).  However, California’s Enforcement of Judgments Law procedures are applied to enforcement of the judgment.  In other words, the judgment creditor’s available avenues for collection are dictated by California state law rather than federal law, except when federal law contradicts California law.  California’s EJL procedures also apply to “proceedings supplementary to and in aid of a judgment”, unless a federal statute applies.  See Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 69(a).  For example, judgment debtor examinations can be conducted in federal court pursuant to CCP § 708.110 and 708.120.  

In addition, judgment creditors in California may use Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 26 – 37 to obtain discovery in aid of collection of federal court judgments and bankruptcy court judgments, and the court can order post-judgment discovery under the court’s inherent power.  See FRCP 69(a); Natural Gas Pipeline Co. of America v. Energy Gathering, Inc. (5th Cir. 1993) 2 F.3d 1397, 1408.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  • Contact The Wallin Firm Now