I am not a lawyer, I am a judgment referral expert (Judgment Broker). This article is my opinion, based on my experience in California, and laws vary in each state. Nothing in any of my articles should ever be considered legal advice. This article explains how to fill out a MC-12 California. How payments are first applied to interest is explained in CCP 695.220.
In California, one uses a judicial council form to record judgment interest and costs.
How to fill out page 1 of a MC-12 form:
At the top of the form, put your name, address, and phone. If you are representing anyone as their attorney or are the assignee of record, make note of that here.
Then, fill out the court’s name and address, e.g., Santa Clara County Superior Court, and their address. Then fill in the plaintiff and defendant names. Make sure to use the exact same names and spellings as are on the judgment itself. Next is the case number, which must match the judgment.
After that are the number and calculation fields:
A) Preparing and issuing an abstract of judgment. This is for what the court charged for an unrecorded abstract. If you bought abstracts for more than one county, you can multiply this amount. It is a good idea to print “3 Abstracts” here, if you claimed 3 abstracts. Pick a date when most of the abstracts were purchased.
B) Recording and indexing an abstract of judgment. Same as above, for what the county recorder charged to record those abstracts.
C) Filing notice of judgment lien on personal property. In real life, this means the $10 spent to get a state-wide UCC lien from the secretary of state.
D) Issuing writ of execution, to the extent not satisfied by CCP 685.050 (specify county). This is what the court charged for a writ of execution for a particular county. If you bought a writ for more than one county, you multiply this amount. It is a good idea to print “3 writs”, if you claimed 3 writs. Make sure to specify which county(s). If you are claiming more than one county, type in the date when most of the writs were purchased.
E) Levying officer’s fees, to the extent not satisfied by CCP 685.050 or wage garnishment. This is for the sheriff levy file fee, and for the costs of having a sheriff or a registered process server serve a levy on a judgment debtor’s wages, savings, or assets. There is very little room here, so sum the total of what was spent on sheriffs and process servers, and pick a date when most of the money was spent.
F) Approved fees on an application for an appearance of a judgment debtor, or other approved costs starting around CCP 708.110. This is for the court’s charge to schedule a hearing, and the costs to serve debtors or third parties that possess, or know about the debtor’s assets. I am not a lawyer, however in my opinion, the cost of a court reporter should be allowable here.
G) Attorney fees, if allowed by CCP 685.040. Adding post-judgment attorney fees are not allowed here unless the judgment specifically awards attorneys fees. This usually means the underlying contract or agreement used, as the basis of the lawsuit that caused the judgment, specified that attorney fees were allowed for recovery of the debt.
H) Other: (Statute authorizing cost): This is the flexible area, for other reasonable, explainable, and legally authorized expenses. Court clerks usually allow reasonable-looking numbers, explanations, and cites here. The more money you claim here, and the more unusual the descriptions are, the more likely a debtor or their attorney will challenge them.
You cannot put the costs of a private investigator to find the debtor’s assets here. However if a PI is used to find the debtor for service of process, that should be deductible as per CCP 685.040.
If you want to add unusual costs to the judgment, do not use the MC-12, instead use a noticed motion to have the court approve your costs as being reasonable and necessary to enforce the judgment.
I) Total of the claims costs on this form. Add up the costs of all the items you claimed on this form.
Section 2: All previously allowed post-judgment costs: This is the total listed on any previous MC-12 filings. If this is the first MC-12, put 0.00.
Section 3: Total of current and previous post-judgment costs: The sum of all previous and newly-claimed costs go here.
Section 4: Acknowledgement of credit: This is where you report the total of any money the debtor paid you, or any money you got from a sheriff. One should always be careful not to over-collect more than what is owed. If you are unsure about your interest calculations, make up a credit here for the debtor. (see CCP 695.220) Better to collect less than is owed than to over-collect. If you over-collect even one penny on a levy, the judgment debtor or their attorney could undo your levy!
As per California law, credits go to interests and costs first, but currently no way to correctly state credits and costs and interest all together on the MC-12. The solution is to attach an accounting records showing how you came up with the correct calculations, and explain it to the court clerk. You can also write in longhand on the memo of costs, near line 4, “$ XX.xx applies to costs, and interests as per CCP 695.220.” The goal is to make the court clerk think, rather than just glance at it and reject it.
To combat this California glitch, (on the Memo of Costs there is no way to account for payments to interest only). There are the two ways to handle this problem:
1. If the payments have been small, simply give credit for them, and then calculate interest only on the remaining amount minus the credits from the date of judgment. Simple, but unsatisfactory.
2. Calculate everything correctly, from the date of each payment. Credit the payments in the “credits” section. Then send an explanation to the clerk showing how you arrived at the calculation, and pointing out that the form has no way to properly calculate payments for interest only. A useful PDF form is at http://file.lacounty.gov/dca/cms1_205642.pdf
Section 5: Declaration of Accrued interest. This is where one affirms they calculated (using non-trivial math) or used software to determine the current amount of interest owed.
Section 6: I am the: judgment creditor, agent for the judgment creditor, or attorney for judgment creditor. If one is the Original Judgment Creditor (OJC), or the lawyer working for the OJC, the choice of which box to check is easy. If one is the assignee of record, what box should be checked? Not being a lawyer, I recommend checking the “I am the judgment creditor” box, as it seems to be the least-wrong choice.
Next, you sign and date the MC-12 form. If you are the assignee of record, type “assignee of record” next to your name.
The second page of a MC-12 has the Proof Of Service (POS). This page must always be at least partially filled out, and must be served on the judgment debtor if there are any claimed costs on the current MC-12.
In chapter 4, section 10, page 16, of the small claims procedure manual published by the California Court Association Inc., says: “The memorandum must be served on the judgment debtor and a proof of service must be filed if costs are being added, but not if the judgment creditor is simply adding interest”
So, if only interest is being claimed on a MC-12 form, I write on the second page, the proof of service page, “no process of service is necessary for interest only, as per CCP 685.070(b) which says that if your are not claiming costs, there is no need to serve the debtor as set forth in the codes.
How to fill out page 2 of a MC-12 form:
Check the Mail or Personal Service box.
Section 2: Put in your mailing address.
Section 3: Usually the MC-12 is mailed to the judgment debtor. If the debtor is going to be served personally, leave section 3-B blank. If the person signing the POS will be dropping the envelope off at a post office directly, check box A. If the person signing the POS will be dropping the envelope in a mailbox where mail is picked up daily, check box B.
To finish section 3, fill out the same debtor name and address as is written on the stamped envelope to them. Write down the date of mailing, and the city and state.
If the debtor was personally served, have the process server fill out section 3 B.
Finally, at the end of the MC-12, is the declaration area. The person serving should put the date personal service was made, or the date the envelope was mailed. Usually the date is the same as the first date that was put on this form. The person who served the debtor in person or by mail, prints their name and signs the POS.