California Rules of Court, Rule 3.1700 proscribes the procedure for claiming costs following entry of judgment. Rule 3.1700(a)(1) provides in relevant part: “A prevailing party who claims costs must serve and file a memorandum of costs within 15 days after the date of mailing of the notice of entry of judgment or dismissal by the clerk under Code of Civil Procedure section 664.5 or the date of service of written notice of entry of judgment or dismissal, or within 180 days after entry of judgment, whichever is first.”
When the clerk serves notice of entry of judgment or dismissal, it is clear that the 15 day period runs from date of mailing by the clerk. Does the same rule apply when a party, as opposed to the clerk, serves notice of entry by mail? No. When a party serves notice of entry of judgment or dismissal by mail Code of Civil Procedure section 1013 must be applied to extend time by five days for service by mail. Nevis Homes v. CW Roofing.
Caveat: Rule 3.1700 provides alternative periods of time within which a memorandum of costs must be filed, depending on when and if the clerk or a party serves notice. The earliest period of time, i.e., “whichever is first,” controls. The date of mailing (not receipt) controls. In order to avoid missteps a prevailing party should always file their cost bill within 15 days of the date of mailing of the first notice of entry of judgment or dismissal. Relying on an extra 5 days for service by mail is dangerous and would be error if the clerk mailed the notice.
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