Enforcing a Sanctions Order in California

This article will briefly discuss enforcing a sanctions order entered in a California Court. The sanctions could arise from discovery sanctions, sanctions from an Anti-SLAPP Motion, or any other monetary sanctions that can be ordered by a Court in the State of California whether the case is a civil case, or a family law or probate case.

In California many attorneys and other legal professionals are not aware that sanctions ordered against a party, or opposing counsel are enforceable in the same way as a money judgment; in other words a writ of execution may be issued by the court and levied on the property of the person sanctioned. See Code of Civil Procedure Sections 680.230, 680.270, and 699.510.

Many attorneys and other legal professionals seem unaware that sanctions can be enforced by execution and will instead request that the sanctioned party be held in contempt for failure to pay. Many judges prefer that the execution procedures be used, and will not allow contempt proceedings for collection purposes at least until after other methods such as execution have been attempted.

Another alternative is to ask the court for a judgment based on the order that issued the sactions, and then record an abstract of judgment. This will create a judgment lien on the sanctioned party’s or attorney’s home or other reqal property assets. To obtain an abstract of judgment, a specific order directing issuance of a judgment is required in some courts to prevent harassing opposing parties in situations in which the sanctions are likely to be paid.

Other judgment collection methods may also be used such as:

Examination of Judgment Debtor.

Third-Party Examination.

Creditor’s Suit.

Any other methods authorized to be used in collecting a judgment.

As shown by this article there are numerous ways to enforce a sanctions order. And because the sanctions order is considered the same as a money judgment the sanctions order is enforceable for ten (10) years and may be renewed in the same manner as a money judgment.

Also the sanctions order accrues simple interest at the rate of ten (10%) percent per year. So for example a sanctions order that is six (6) years old has increased by sixty (60%) percent. Thus it clearly makes sense for all all attorneys and law firms with numerous sanctions orders to review all such sanctions orders to determine the viability of their enforcement and eventual collection.

The author sincerely hopes you have enjoyed this article.

Yours Truly,

Stan Burman

Copyright 2012 by Stan Burman. All rights reserved.