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Opposing counsel and I disagree on the interpretation of judge's order, how to ask judge to clarify?

Pleasant Hill, CA |

Opposing counsel and I signed a stipulation and the judge issued an order making it an order of the court. However, there is now disagreement between me and opposing counsel on how to interpret the stipulation / order. What motion, under what statute, would I bring before the judge for him to state his interpretation of the stipulation?

Attorney Answers 4

  1. You don't indicate the nature of the stipulation. Is it dispositive of the entire case, or is it a stipulation regarding a limited issue in the case? Generally speaking, the court would not make advisory opinions. Rather, one of the parties would have to make a motion to enforce the stipulation, and the opposing party would file an opposition, in order for the court to make a ruling.

    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.

  2. If this was a stipulation of the parties which was so incomplete or vague that one side or the other now disagrees with its terms, then either file a motion to enforce the order, as Mr. Chen stated, or file a motion under Section 473 of the Code of Civil Procedure, which concerns mistake, inadvertence, surprise or excusable neglect. Before you do this, I'd recommend having a lawyer in your area review the order and the position of side, to see if the motion is needed. No point wasting your time and money to file a motion that will not fare well.

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  3. You can file a motion for clarification. problem is if the stip was entered into by the parties and adopted by the court, the court has no way of knowing what was subjectively in each party's mind when the stip was drafted. if there is no meeting of the minds due to good faith difference of intention and you cant tell which interpretation is correct as both are reasonable, you may need to combine the motion with a motion that actually deals with the issue in dispute, so that the court can decide the issue as opposed to guess at the interpretation of the stip.

  4. File a motion for clarification of the court's order.

    Sagi Shaked is a Florida Bar Board Certified Civil Trial Attorney. To schedule a free consultation, call (877) 529-0080 or (305) 937-0191. I am licensed in Florida, therefore, my answers are based on general prinicpals of law or Florida law, which may not be applicable in your jurisdiction. Answers posted to Avvo are for general information only and do not create an attorney client relationship. Do not conclusively rely on any information posted online when deciding what to do about your case. Every case depends is different and fact dependent, and responses are limited to and is based on the information you posted. No attorney-client relationship shall be created through the use reading of this response on Avvo. You should never delay seeking legal advice, disregard legal advice, or commence or discontinue any legal action because of information in this response.