Caps on Judgment Enforcement Fees

By Kenneth Linzer, Founding partner of Linzer Law Group and member of the DRT Alliance.

California’s Code of Civil Procedure permits judgment creditors to recover their attorney’s fees incurred in enforcing a judgment when the underlying judgment includes an award of attorney’s fees authorized by statute or contract.
The source of these enforcement of judgment attorney’s fees (judgment enforcement fees) is the judgment itself, rather than the underlying contract, based on California courts’ recognition of what is commonly referred to as a “merger doctrine.” The merger doctrine, sometimes referred to as the “extinction by merger analysis,” provides that “post-judgment rights are governed by the rights in the judgment and not by any rights arising from the contract.”