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How to Keep Judgment Creditors From Collecting During Appeal

Staying Enforcement of a Judgment Pending Appeal

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How to Keep Judgment Creditors From Collecting During Appeal. Generally, the perfecting of an appeal stays proceedings in the trial court including proceedings to enforce the judgment or order. This general rule, however, is subject to numerous exceptions, most importantly those concerning money judgments.

Money Judgments

Enforcement of a money judgment is not automatically stayed when an appeal is perfected. Rather, staying enforcement of a money judgment during appeal requires that the appealing party post an undertaking or bond with the Court. The undertaking must be sufficient enough to cover the money judgment, costs, and potential appellate costs. While there is not set amount defined by statute, typically courts require that the undertaking be in the amount of one and one-half times the money judgment and costs.

Costs on Appeal

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Enforcement of costs awarded to the prevailing party is automatically stayed while an appeal is perfected. Unlike a money judgment, no undertaking is necessary to stay enforcement.

Enforcement of an attorney fee award can also be stayed while pending appeal. Courts have ruled that contractual attorney’s fees are considered costs for purposes of enforcement. Therefore, as with other costs, the enforcement of an attorney fee award can be stayed without posting an undertaking.

Other Methods of Staying Enforcement

Where money judgments are concerned, usually the posting of an undertaking is the only way to stay enforcement. However, in “exceptional circumstances” a judgment debtor can file a writ of supersedeas with the Court of Appeal.

A writ of supersedeas if granted maintains the status quo of the parties that existed prior to judgment. To that effect, it can stay enforcement of a money judgment while an appeal is perfected. These writs, however, are rarely granted, and are no substitute for an undertaking.

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