When a creditor domesticates a sister-state judgment or foreign judgment in California, the debtor often seeks to stay enforcement of the judgment using California Code of Civil Procedure Section 1750. CCP Section 1750 states as follows:
(a) The court shall grant a stay of enforcement where:
(1) An appeal from the sister state judgment is pending or may be taken in the state which originally rendered the judgment. Under this paragraph, enforcement shall be stayed until the proceedings on appeal have been concluded or the time for appeal has expired.
(2) A stay of enforcement of the sister state judgment has been granted in the sister state. Under this paragraph, enforcement shall be stayed until the sister state stay of enforcement expires or is vacated.
(3) The judgment debtor has made a motion to vacate pursuant to Section 1710.40. Under this paragraph, enforcement shall be stayed until the judgment debtor’s motion to vacate is determined.
(4) Any other circumstance exists where the interests of justice require a stay of enforcement.
(b) The court may grant a stay of enforcement under this section on its own motion, on ex parte motion, or on noticed motion.
(c) The court shall grant a stay of enforcement under this section on such terms and conditions as are just including but not limited to the following:
(1) The court may require an undertaking in an amount it determines to be just, but the amount of the undertaking shall not exceed double the amount of the judgment creditor’s claim.
In other words, the California court can stay enforcement of the judgment if (1) an appeal is pending in the sister-state or foreign state; (2) the sister-state has ordered a stay of enforcement; (3) the debtor has filed a motion to vacate the domesticated California judgment; or (4) “any other circumstance where the interests of justice require a stay of enforcement.”
This gives the judge a lot of discretion as to staying enforcement of the judgment.
But if the judge chooses to stay enforcement of the California judgment, the judge is permitted to do so “on such terms and conditions as are just.” This also gives the judge a great deal of discretion. If the debtor seeks to stay enforcement of a sister-state judgment in California, the creditor should usually ask that the debtor be required to post a bond in the amount set forth in CCP Section 917.1 (i.e., 1.5 times or 2.0 times the amount of the judgment). The creditor should also arguing, in opposition to the request for a stay, that the California court should not stay enforcement unless the sister-state has decided to stay enforcement. The state that entered the original judgment knows the matter best. If that state did not find it necessary to impose a stay, then the California court should not impose any stay.
The Wallin Firm is very experienced in enforcing sister-state judgments in California. If you have a judgment entered in any other state that you need domesticated in California, feel free to contact The Wallin Firm to discuss domestication and enforcement of your judgment.