Judgment Debtors: The Qualified Tax Return Privilege

  There is no federal or state constitutional right to maintain the privacy of tax returns. However, California courts have interpreted state taxation statutes as creating a statutory privilege against the disclosure of tax returns. The purpose is to encourage voluntary filing of tax reporting of income and thus to facilitate tax collection.

  The privilege is not absolute. It will not be upheld in three situations: when (1) the circumstances indicate an intentional waiver of the privilege; (2) the gravamen of the lawsuit is inconsistent with the privilege; or (3) a public policy greater than that of the confidentiality of tax returns is involved. This last exception is narrow and applies only “when warranted by a legislatively declared public policy.” Continue reading

Dissolution of Marriage: Judgment Properly Entered Nunc Pro Tunc Following Death of Party

  If a party dies between the time the court orally grants a judgment of dissolution and the time the court enters a written judgment — does the court lose jurisdiction to enter judgment nunc pro tunc? No, writes the court in Marriage of Martin. Continue reading

Enforcement of Judgment: Attorney Fees as Costs, Privity Not Required

  Code of Civil Procedure section 685.040 authorizes the court to award a judgment creditor attorney fees incurred in enforcing a judgment if the underlying judgment included an award of fees as costs. Continue reading

Enforcement of Sister State Money Judgments in California

  It is fundamental that a judgment of a sister state must be given full faith and credit if that sister state had jurisdiction over the parties and the subject matter, and all interested parties were given reasonable notice and opportunity to be heard.  To fulfill this mandate in California a sister state or foreign money judgment may be registered and enforced pursuant to the Sister State and Foreign Money-Judgment Act (SSFMJA) codified at Code of Civil Procedure sections 1710.10-1710.65. Continue reading

Calculation of Interest on California Judgment

  If you are fortunate to have obtained a judgment from a California court, you may wonder how interest on the principal amount of the judgment and interest on prejudgment and postjudgment costs are calculated. Interest on the principal amount of judgment is calculated at the rate of 10 percent per annum. It is calculated on the principal amount of the judgment from the date of entry. Continue reading

No Default Judgments in Quiet Title Cases: Period

   Over the years I have handled my fair share of quiet title cases. They are unique in several respects. The recent case of Nickell v. Matlock, Second Appellate District, highlights one unique aspect: default judgments are not allowed. Pursuant to statutes specific to quiet title actions, the court must, in all cases, require evidence of plaintiff’s title and must hear evidence that is offered as to the claims of any other defendants.

   What about the circumstance when a defendant’s pleading has been struck and his default entered as a sanction? Is that defendant allowed to present evidence of title at the evidentiary hearing? Continue reading