Legal News and Appellate Tips

Each week, TVA appellate attorney Tim Kowal reviews several recent decisions out of the appellate courts in California, and elsewhere, and reports about the ones that might help you get an edge in your cases and appeals.

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Tag: Stays

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

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 fee award.

That stay was reversed on appeal in Specialty Baking, Inc. v. Kohanbash (LASC App. Div. May 24, 2021) no. BV033347 (nonpub. opn.). While such a stay may be permissible, the court in making the discretionary ruling failed to consider the factors required under the operative statute. Failure to exercise discretion is an abuse of discretion.

Whenever the topic of stays and bonds come up, that is a good time to consult an appellate attorney.

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Bankruptcy Stay Does Not Prevent Creditors from Renewing Judgments, Published CA Court Holds

So you have a judgment that is about to expire, but the judgment-debtor has filed for bankruptcy. Can you renew the judgment? Or does the bankruptcy stay apply until the stay expires?

Yes, says the recent published opinion in Rubin v. Ross (D4d2 Jun. 4, 2021) no. E074210. Yes to both.

Justice Menetrez concurs, asking: both? That doesn't exactly make sense, now, does it?

The Upshot: If you have a judgment, do not be deterred by debtor's bankruptcy from timely renewing that judgment. But even if you are deterred, you still get a 30-day extension of time after the bankruptcy concludes.

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

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: by filing a motion to quash the complaint. A motion to quash extends the time to respond to the complaint. And when it's denied, the defendant has a statutory right to file a writ petition. The writ petition effectively stays the UD action.
And this de facto stay is free (except for attorney fees).

But the California Supreme Court now holds that that deal, sweet for the tenant but rather sour for the landlord, is not the law.
In the future, tenants should not plan on obtaining a de facto stay by filing an improper motion to quash. That clarity, ironically, comes by way of the Court's having given the tenant in this case a two-year de facto stay while awaiting its decision. The law works funny that way.

Stancil v. Superior Court (San Mateo) (May 3, 2021) S253783

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