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Appellate Stays and Judgment Enforcement

Appellate Stays and Judgment Enforcement

Could a California judge enjoin Donald Trump from seeking a loan to get an appellate bond?

Last updated on February 26, 2024 by Tim Kowal
By now, you know about the $350 million-plus in damages that New York judge Arthur F Engoron awarded against Donald Trump and his companies. Trial-court news normally has a short expiration date, as it awaits the bigger news about what happens on appeal. But an appeal could be off the table because of a striking...Read More >>

Appellate Bonds: What You Client Needs to Know, with Dan Huckabay

Last updated on November 14, 2023 by Tim Kowal
Trial resulted in a sizable judgment against your client. You know to stay judgment enforcement you have to post a bond, but what, exactly, does that mean? And how do you do it? Enter Dan Huckabay from Court Surety Bond Agency. We sit down with Dan and ask him how we attorneys can be a...Read More >>

Can a judge just stay a money judgment?

Last updated on June 19, 2023 by Tim Kowal
Stays of judgment enforcement in California are governed by statute. There are basically only two ways to stay enforcement of a money judgment: (1) post a bond and file a notice of appeal, or (2) ask for a temporary stay under Code of Civil Procedure section 918—but the stay only lasts until the deadline to...Read More >>

Judgment creditors, beware restitution—and pounce on disentitlement, says Joseph Chora

Last updated on June 1, 2023 by Tim Kowal
Has your client decided to enforce the judgment before the appeal is over? Beware, says collection attorney Joseph Chora—after losing an appeal, a judgment creditor is liable in restitution. (The plaintiff in Dr. Leevil LLC v. Westlake Health Care Ctr. was liable for $5.7 million, as written up here: https://lnkd.in/geJWrrin.) But on the flipside, judgment creditors...Read More >>

Judgment debtor fraudulently transferring assetes? Don’t file a new action, just levy the asset

Last updated on April 5, 2023 by Tim Kowal
File away these two “gold nuggets” for next time you enforce a judgment, courtesy of judgment-enforcement specialist Joseph Chora:   If the debtor is transferring assets to third parties, sure, you could file a fraudulent-transfer complaint. But why? You can simply levy on the transferred asset. Not only is this faster and cheaper, but it...Read More >>

3 Judgment-Collection Tips Focusing on the Debtors’ Paramours, IP, and Their Little Dog, Too

Last updated on March 13, 2023 by Tim Kowal
When you are trying to enforce a judgment, you may be tempted to seize special personal property, like mementos, or the beloved family pet. But while these are personal property, if they do not have significant value, it will be seen as an improper purpose. So that might not be a good strategy. But judgment-enforcement...Read More >>

“Find something that is difficult, arcane, and that nobody knows how to do, and you will always have work”

Last updated on February 17, 2023 by Tim Kowal
“When I got out of law school,” Joseph Chora related, “I knew nothing.” So like many of us, he started out by taking any case that came in. Until, that is, a mentor told him “that’s a dumb idea.” Instead, you should “find something that is difficult, arcane, and that nobody knows how to do.”...Read More >>

Attachment Not Available for Punitive Damages in Elder Abuse Claims

Last updated on November 14, 2022 by Tim Kowal
When a nonagenarian’s new 35-years-junior wife started liquidated his assets, his daughter, Lisa Royals, intervened. In her resulting lawsuit of Royals v. Lu (D1d4 Jul. 18, 2022) 81 Cal.App.5th 328., not only did Royals allege almost $1.1 million in financial elder abuse, she also sought a writ of attachment for three times that amount—apparently based...Read More >>

Labels Matter: To Enforce an Appellate Stay, Seek an “Injunction”

Last updated on August 17, 2022 by Tim Kowal
There is a high frustration quotient in defending against judgment enforcement. There is supposed to be an automatic stay of orders on appeal, but in practice this is wishful thinking. So you may have to do what the aggrieved party did in Merritt v. Specialized Loan Servicing, LLC (D6 Aug. 11, 2022 No. H048463) 2022...Read More >>

Time to Collect: Joseph Chora on Collecting Judgments

Last updated on August 16, 2022 by Tim Kowal
So you won a huge court case? Big deal — can you collect? Judgment enforcement, and defense against judgment enforcement, are critically important to litigants. But enforcement sits in that twilight region in between the trial and the appeal, so most trial and appellate attorneys do not know a lot about it. But Joseph Chora...Read More >>

Managing Power Dynamics in Settling Appeals

Last updated on June 30, 2022 by Tim Kowal
When trying to settle or mediate a case on appeal, how important is it to stay enforcement of judgment? Appellate mediator John Derrick talks with Tim Kowal and Jeff Lewis about whether posting a bond make a judgment-creditor more or less likely to come to the table. And what about the strange and rare personal-surety bonds? Watch the clip...Read More >>

The Probate “Stay-Killer”

Last updated on May 23, 2022 by Tim Kowal
Probate litigator and appellate attorney David Greco tells why the probate “stay killer” is his “favorite provision in the Probate Code.” Probate Code section 1310(b) allows a probate judge to override the automatic appellate stay, which can, in many cases, render the appeal moot. David explains why this is an important tool in many probate cases. Watch...Read More >>

Appellate Court Ducks Question Whether Probate Court Loses Jurisdiction to Award Fees Pending Appeal of Judgment

Last updated on March 2, 2022 by Tim Kowal
Here is a question I did not realize had not been answered about appellate stays and attorney-fee awards. When the losing party appeals an order that gives rise to a motion for fees, does the appellate stay deprive the court of jurisdiction to award fees? In civil cases, the answer is no. But in probate...Read More >>

Attorney Sanctions for Violating Appellate Stay (But the Stay Was Probably Void)

Last updated on February 23, 2022 by Tim Kowal
This recent case involving the underappreciated topic of appellate stays has me heartened on one point, but dismayed on another. What is heartening: Appellate stays have teeth. In Stupp v. Schilders (D1d2 Jan. 25. 2022 no. A161177) 2022 WL 213774 (nonpub. opn.), the trial court imposed a rather large discovery sanction against Stupp totaling over...Read More >>

Outside Reverse Veil Piercing May Be Permissible Even Against an LLC with an Innocent Third-Party Member, Published Appellate Decision Holds

Last updated on January 10, 2022 by Tim Kowal
When you have a judgment against a shell entity, you can amend the judgment to name the sole shareholder or member. That is called piercing the corporate veil. Until a few years ago, it didn’t work in reverse: if you have a judgment against a judgment-proof business owner, you can’t add the entity as a...Read More >>

Judgment Not Satisfied Unless Payment "Conditioned"​ on Satisfaction, Published Appellate Decision Holds

Last updated on November 17, 2021 by Tim Kowal
Enforcing a judgment is hard enough before appeals and appeal bonds enter the picture. Unfortunately, the published opinion in Wertheim, LLC v. Currency Corp. (D2d1 Oct. 14, 2021) 2021 WL 4785575 (nos. B304655, B310650) now takes that picture even further out of focus. The upshot is that the defendant fully satisfied a judgment, but that was not...Read More >>

Sale of Property Rendered Appeal Moot; Bond and Stay Were Required to Preserve the Appeal

Last updated on October 6, 2021 by Tim Kowal
It is not enough to appeal your case. You have to keep your case alive until the Court of Appeal has a chance to get to it. That is the lesson of Badea-Mic v. Detres (D3 Nov. 23, 2020) **no. C085459 (nonpub. opn.). The appellant appealed an order authorizing the sale of the property, but the property...Read More >>

"Frivolous"​ to Argue Appeal Prevents the Trial Court from Ruling on a Motion for Attorneys'​ Fees

Last updated on September 8, 2021 by Tim Kowal
You may think this is obvious, but I continue to see attorneys get tripped up by this question: When an appeal from a judgment is taken, which generally stays matters in the trial court (matters that are are "embraced therein or affected thereby" (CCP § 916)), does the appeal prevent the trial court from awarding...Read More >>

Are Injunctions Stayed on Appeal? Cal. Supreme Court Says Issue Is "Ripe for Reexamination"

Last updated on August 18, 2021 by Tim Kowal
The California Supreme Court in *Daly v. San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors* (Aug. 9, 2021) ___ Cal.5th ___ has decided one particular area of the law is unclear and needs "reexamination." When a trial court grants an injunction, and the injunction is appealed, does the injunction still apply during the appeal? When the Board of...Read More >>

Failure to Exercise Discretion in Issuing a Stay of Enforcement of Judgment Is an Abuse of Discretion

Last updated on August 12, 2021 by Tim Kowal
In a recent case involving more than one case number, the defendant got an early victory in one case, and got an award of attorney fees. The trial court, however, did not like the idea of rewarding one party partway through a complex litigation, so it imposed a sua sponte stay of enforcement of that...Read More >>

Appellant Disobeyed Injunction, Incorrectly Believing Her Appeal Stayed It; Appeal Dismissed

Last updated on July 21, 2021 by Tim Kowal
Did you know that, when you appeal a mandatory preliminary injunction, the injunction is automatically stayed? An appeal in that instance can be very powerful. But when is an injunction truly mandatory? Whether an appeal is mandatory or prohibitory can be very tricky to determine. Getting it wrong can be devastating, as the appellant learned...Read More >>

Appeal of Anti-SLAPP Ruling Does Not Stay the Rest of the Case from Going Forward

Last updated on June 30, 2021 by Tim Kowal
One tactical benefit of filing an appeal is the potential to stay the underlying proceedings. The automatic stay rule observes that only one court at a time may have jurisdiction over an issue, and protects the appeal from becoming moot before the appellate court has an opportunity to reach the merits. But the automatic stay...Read More >>

Notice of Appeal Filed by Corporation But Omitting Alter Ego Appellant Held Not Fatal Under the Liberality Rule – But Alter-Ego Finding Still Affirmed

Last updated on May 18, 2021 by Tim Kowal
It is a horrifying thing to find that your appeal has been dismissed. And it can happen very easily. An appeal can be dismissed because the notice of appeal was filed late – even a day late. Or because the notice of appeal had the wrong box checked on it specifying the wrong type of order (even though...Read More >>

Backdoor Stays of Unlawful Detainer Actions Via Quash Motions No Longer Available

Last updated on May 5, 2021 by Tim Kowal
Here is an appellate procedure trick I wish I'd thought of. Unlawful detainers are designed for speedy adjudication of landlord/tenant disputes. But there was one way a tenant could readily delay the process by several weeks or months (in this particular case, by over two years): by filing a motion to quash the complaint. A...Read More >>

Appellate Bonds and Stays: The Cal. Appellate Law Podcast Ep. 7

Last updated on February 19, 2021 by Tim Kowal
TVA appellate attorney Tim Kowal and co-host Jeff Lewis discuss appellate bonds and stays in the latest episode of the California Appellate Law Podcast. Appellate stays can play a significant role in changing the posture of litigation and the relative bargaining power of the parties. We discuss where to watch out for stays in anti-SLAPP...Read More >>

"God made the angels to show Him splendor, … Man He made to serve Him wittily, in the tangle of his mind."

— Sir Thomas More in Robert Bolt's A Man for All Seasons

"Moot points have to be settled somehow, once they get thrust upon us. If an assertion cannot be proved, then it must be settled some other way, and nearly all of these ways are unfair to somebody."

—T.H. White, The Once and Future King

Show neither partiality to the weak nor deference to the mighty, but judge your fellow men justly.


"Good people do not need laws to tell them to act responsibly, while bad people will find a way around the laws."

— Plato (427-347 B.C.)

"It may be that the court is thought to be excessively legalistic. I should be sorry to think that it is anything else."

— Hon. Sir Owen Dixon, Chief Justice of Australia

"Counsel on the firing line in an actual trial must be prepared for surprises, including requests for amendments of pleading. They cannot ask that a judgment afterwards obtained be set aside merely because their equilibrium was slightly disturbed by an unexpected motion."

Posz v. Burchell (1962) 209 Cal.App.2d 324, 334

"A judge is a law student who grades his own papers."

— H.L. Mencken

"Upon putting laws into writing, they became even harder to change than before, and a hundred legal fictions rose to reconcile them with reality."

— Will Durant

"At common law, barratry was 'the offense of frequently exciting and stirring up suits and quarrels' (4 Blackstone, Commentaries 134) and was punished as a misdemeanor."

Rubin v. Green (1993) 4 Cal.4th 1187

“It will be of little avail to the people, that the laws are made by men of their own choice, if the laws be so voluminous that they cannot be read, or so incoherent that they cannot be understood; if they be repealed or revised before they are promulgated, or undergo such incessant changes that no man, who knows what the law is today, can guess what it will be tomorrow. Law is defined to be a rule of action; but how can that be a rule, which is little known, and less fixed?”

— James Madison, Federalist 62

"So far as the beginnings of law had theories, the first theory of liability was in terms of a duty to buy off the vengeance of him to whom an injury had been done whether by oneself or by something in one's power. The idea is put strikingly in the Anglo-Saxon legal proverb, 'Buy spear from side or bear it,' that is, buy off the feud or fight it out."

— Roscoe Pound, An Introduction to the Philosophy of Law

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