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If I lose an appeal on a wrongful death judgment lawsuit, can the defendant's atorney collect their costs, and if so, can they

Stockton, CA |
Filed under: Litigation

file a lien on my property. My attorney will not represent me in an appeal. I need a answer immediately. Thank you.

Attorney Answers 3


I assume from your question that the defendant has (or will be soon getting) a judgment for costs. That cost judgment is automatically stayed by the filing of a notice of appeal (except for section 998 expert witness fees, if any), but it gains interest at 10% per year until collected. If you win the appeal, the cost judgment is wiped out.
Getting to you question - if you lose the appeal, the defendant will (eventually) be able to enforce the cost award just like a judgment - and yes, one way of doing that is to put a lien on your home. They will also be able to get additional costs for the appeal, but those are typically minimal for the responding party.
As for your attorney not representing you on appeal - has he or she explained why not? Is it because he or she does not believe you can win the appeal; because he or she has little to no experience in appeals; or because of the cost of the appeal; or, some combination of all three?
Your trial attorney is not always the best person to rely on in determining the merits and cost of an appeal. You should consider consulting with an appellate specialist. See for more information about appeals.

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Yes, the prevailing party is entitled to recover costs, and can enforce a judgment for costs by recording a real property lien (abstract of judgment).

Frank W. Chen has been licensed to practice law in California since 1988. The information presented here is general in nature and is not intended, nor should be construed, as legal advice for a particular case. This posting does not create any attorney-client relationship with the author. For specific advice about your particular situation, please consult with your own attorney.

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Of course, more information is needed -- is it one issue stemming from the judgment or is it the entire judgment (in other words, you think the judgment is incorrect). Generally, yes, a prevailing party can collect costs on appeal and if you do not have the funds to pay the cost award, a lien may be placed on your property. What reason did your attorney give for not wanting to represent you on appeal? Sometimes, the answer to that question is simply that the trial attorney lacks appellate experience, not that you do not have valid grounds appeal. Double check with your attorney to clarify and if you decide to pursue an apeeal, hire an attorney as soon as possible because your deadline to file an appeal starts ticking when the underlying judgment is filed. Best of luck to you.

The above information does not constitute legal advice and does not form the basis of an attorney-client relationship. Lisa M. Blasser, Esq. and Blasser Law do not represent you and are not responsible for any actions or inactions that you decide to pursue in lieu of the above information.

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