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Does An Appeal Stay Enforcement of A California Judgment?

The short answer is: it can.

But, as with most legal issues, the question posed in the title can’t be answered with a simple “yes” or “no.”

California Code of Civil Procedure (CCP) Section 916 stays enforcement of certain judgments during the pendency of an appeal. This means that, in qualifying cases, filing an appeal will prevent a prevailing party from enforcing the judgment obtained in the trial court until the appeal is finished. (And if the judgment is reversed on appeal, it can’t be collected at all.)

However, even though the language of CCP Section 916 does not stay enforcement of all judgments during the pendency of appeals. The statute begins with the carveout: “Except as provided in Sections 917.1 to 917.9” – which means that the stay of enforcement created by Section 916 does not apply in the situations described in those other statutes.

Parties seeking to stay enforcement of a judgment during an appeal should consult their attorneys to find out whether a stay of enforcement is available in their specific situations.

For example: Collections of money judgments and awards of costs are not automatically stayed upon the filing of an appeal. However, a party against whom a money judgment was rendered may be able to obtain a stay of the money judgment (and/or an award of costs) pending appeal by posting a bond or collateral with the court. (CCP Section 917.1) In some cases, the court may also exercise discretionary authority to stay the judgment without the posting of a bond or collateral – but such discretionary stays are within the judgment of the court, and typically require the party seeking the stay to demonstrate that some significant harm or injustice would occur if the stay is not granted.

There are many reasons why a party might wish to stay enforcement of a judgment (some more legal, and more ethical, than others) but in proper circumstances, parties may be able to temporarily stop enforcement of a judgment–including some money judgments–while an appeal is pending.

Disclaimer: THIS ARTICLE IS FOR INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY, AND DOES NOT CONSTITUTE LEGAL ADVICE OR CREATE AN ATTORNEY-CLIENT RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE AUTHOR OR ROSS LAW AND ANY PERSON. Your rights and experiences may vary. Never use an online article (including this one) to evaluate your legal claims. Speak with an experienced lawyer promptly to obtain a personalized evaluation of your claims, possible damages, and the various legal options available to you. You may lose or compromise your rights if you delay in consulting legal counsel. Most legal claims (and defenses), as well as legal and court procedures, are complicated and fact-dependent. If you believe you have a claim against someone who injured you, a lawyer who represented you in a previous lawsuit, or any other type of legal claim, consult an experienced lawyer immediately for an evaluation of your personal rights and claims.

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