Judge: Elaine W. Mandel, Case: 21SMCP00166, Date: 2022-08-11 Tentative Ruling

Case Number: 21SMCP00166    Hearing Date: August 11, 2022    Dept: P

Tentative Ruling
Southern California Land Use v. Varastehpour, Case No. 21SMCP00166
Hearing Date August 11, 2022
Respondent Varastehpour’s Motion to Tax Costs 

Petitioner Southern California Land Use (SCLU) obtained an arbitration award against respondent Varastehpour and moved to enter the award as a judgment. Varastehpour did not oppose, and the court entered judgment. Varastehpour later moved to set aside the judgment under Cal. Code of Civ. Proc. §473. The court denied the motion. SCLU filed a memorandum of costs for attorney’s fees incurred since late 2021, including fees incurred opposing the motion to set aside judgment. Varastehpour moves to tax those costs.

A judgment extinguishes all further contractual rights, including a contract’s attorney’s fees clause. Jaffe v. Pacelli (2008) 165 Cal.App.4th 927, 934. Under Cal. Code of Civ. Proc. §685.040, a judgment creditor is entitled to the reasonable and necessary costs of enforcing a judgment. Attorney’s fees incurred in enforcing a judgment are recoverable if the underlying judgment contained an award of attorney’s fees. Id. Additionally, fees incurred in opposing a motion to vacate a judgment are recoverable under the above section. Vincent v. Sonkey (2020) 59 Cal.App.5th 160, 162.

Varastehpour argues that entry of judgment extinguished SCLU’s contractual rights, so no post-judgment attorney’s fees can be recovered. This argument fails under §685.040 because the underlying judgment included an award of attorney’s fees. Varastehpour also argues attorney’s fees are not recoverable because opposing a motion to set aside judgment does not qualify as “enforcing a judgment” under §685.040. This fails under Vincent.

Although SCLU is entitled to attorney’s fees, it fails to provide sufficient evidence to demonstrate that its requested $46,214.90 is reasonable. The memorandum of costs contains no supporting evidence, and the attorney declarations are insufficiently specific. CONTINUED pending presentation of evidence regarding requested fees.