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California Attorney Fees

When can you recover attorney's fees on a judgment, or when you attempt to recover a judgment? Only when the judgment or a court confirms that you can. What if the lawyer's fees were not specifically granted on the judgment, however an award of the counselor's fees was mentioned in your judgment?

One of many judgment articles: I am a judgment broker, not a lawyer, and this article is my opinion based on my experience, please consult with a lawyer if you need legal advice.

I am not an attorney, and my opinion is that if a judgment mentions the recovery of lawyer fees, and if the contract the lawsuit was based on, allows for the recovery of such fees and costs, or if there is a law specially authorizing the recovery of attorney fees; then you can include those costs on a memorandum of costs.

If, however, you have a judgment that awarded lawyer fees, however the lawsuit was not based on a contract that specified the post-judgment recovery of such fees; then I think you might need to win a noticed motion to add your lawyer fees to the judgment. In the rare event that such fees are predetermined by law, a noticed motion may not be necessary. Make sure you act before your judgment is fully satisfied.

In some courts, you can only add attorney's fees, if they are added within 10 days of the judgment's entry. Otherwise the creditor must file and serve a new lawsuit case for their lawyer fees and lawsuit costs.

In California, when it comes to including post-judgment lawyer fees on a MC-12 memorandum of costs, CCP 685.070 states what costs may be included on the MC-12 form.

CCP 685.070 (a) item 6 states that lawyers's fees are permitted, if they are allowed by both CCPs 685.040 and 1033.5. If you have a judgment that awards such fees as per these two CCPs, then include your post-judgment lawyer fees on your memorandum of costs. The most relevant part of CCP 1033.5 states that such fees may be authorized by either contract or statute.

CCP 685.040 states: 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.

A case within an anti-slap motion that focuses on lawyer fees is: Lucky United Properties Inv., Inc. v. Lee, (2010) 185 Cal. App. 4th 125. Another relevant case is Jaffe v. Pacelli, 165 Cal. App.4th 927 (2008).


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