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Expired Judgment & Enforcement of Foreign Judgements


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A California judgement was entered on Sep 19 2001.  I looked at the County records and did not see where the Judgement was Renewed prior to expiration.

Question: Has this Judgement expired and can the 10 year Statute of Limitation be used to make the CA go away?

Having moved from CA to CO in 2003,

Question:  Can an Expired Judgement in CA be renewed in CO as a Foreign Judgement?


Thanks in advance for any insights.



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This is more complex than first thought.

Tolling of a judgement is governed by CCP sec 351 which states:


CAL. CIV. PROC. CODE § 351 (West Supp. 1992). Section 351 states:

If, when the cause of action accrues against a person, he is out of the State, the action may be commenced within the term herein limited, after his return to the State, and if, after the cause of action accrues, he departs from the State, the time of his absence is not part of the time limited for the commencement of the action.

There are exceptions to this.  But Specifically, What happens if a CA resident is served and the cause of action has accrued, and later the resident takes up domicile in another state some time after service?  It seems that the SOL on the judgement SHOULD NOT TOLLED,


and if, after the cause of action accrues, he departs from the State, the time of his absence is not part of the time limited for the commencement of the action.

But perhaps 351 does not apply at all since the plaintiff has exercised their right to pursue legal action against the defendant by serving them and is now free to enforce the judgement.  If the defendant has moved away from California, that does no prevent the plaintiff from pursuing their rights under the judgement whether they are a resident of CA or not.


CAL CV. PROC. CODE §§ 415.20-415.50 (West 1982 & Supp. 1992) (providing alternative methods of service of process in California); ia § 410.10 (West Supp. 1992) (setting forththe California long arm statute which provides for the exercise of "jurisdiction on any basis not inconsistent with the state or federal constitution"). See supra note 43-56 and accompanying text(discussing the availability of alternative methods of service of process and state courts extended jurisdiction).215

If this is the case then it seems that the 351 tolling provisions aren't relevant and the 10 SOL applies.  If the plaintiff fails to timely Renew the judgement within the 10 year limit AND 351 does not apply, the the plaintiff has no further avenues available to revive the judgement and the defendant can invoke the fact that the judgement has expired because the SOL has passed.

From the McGeorge Law Review,  Vol 23, Issue , Article 27 - https://scholarlycommons.pacific.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1878&context=mlr -

Finally, this looks more like a Tolling issue.  The Supreme Court has clear issue with 351 and how it is interpreted and applied by the CA Court of Appeals.  Not only within the context of the Commerce Clause but also from the standpoint of Equal Protection and the discriminatory behavior it exhibits toward in state residents and out of state residents, where the Statute of Limitation and Tolling rights are different for each.

Any insight here would be appreciated.


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Let me come back to this one more time.  My reasoning goes like this:

1.  Plaintiff pursues a Cause of Action - CCP Section 351 applies - and "SOL to pursue the Cause of Action kicks" in. (There are two SOL's, the SOL for filing a Cause of Action, the SOL for enforcing the Judgement, assuming that the Plaintiff prevails in court.)

2.  Plaintiff wins Judgement - NOW, CCP Section 351 DOES NOT APPLY - but the SOL for a Judgement and associated Renewal rights DO APPLY.

3.  The Plaintiff now has 10 years to enforce the judgement against the DefendantIF the Plaintiff has NOT received satisfaction of the Judgement within the 10 year SOL, the can TIMELY APPLY TO RENEW the judgement.

4.  If the Plaintiff FAILS to Timely Renew the Judgement then the window for recovery closes, the Judgement Expires and the Plaintiff loses all legal rights to revive the Judgement and pursue the Defendant in court for the initial Cause of Action.

This is the only line of reasoning that makes any sense to me.  There are two separate events

  • Pursing the Cause of Action in Court {this bring into play 351 with it's provisions and exceptions).
  • Granting of the Judgement (which then triggers the rights and penalties that accrue to the Plaintiff).  Namely a 10 SOL on the Judgement, the right to Timely Renew, and finally, the loss of the right to renew if they don't TIMELY APPLY TO RENEW THE JUDGEMENT.
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Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer and I suggest you speak to a lawyer in Colorado who has experience with foreign judgements. I am only giving what I consider my uneducated and unprofessional opinion. Never rely on any legal information you find on the web without conferring with an attorney.

What the creditor has is a judgement in California. Since you moved to Colorado, the California SOL is tolled and the CO SOL for obtaining judgements takes effect meaning that the creditor needs to obtain a foreign judgement in CO within the SOL after you moved there. If they don't do that, they lost their rights to collect in CO. Note that this does not mean they still cannot collect in California, say from a company domiciled in California such as Uber if you do that or from a bank that has branches in California such as Wells Fargo (another reason to bank with local banks).

Now with that said, they still have to follow the California rules of SOL for judgements. If they did not renew the judgement, then the SOL has probably ran and you are able to move on. I would check and verify that the judgement was not renewed there however as it is very easy in most states to renew a judgement and some offices might do that automatically.

Again, you need to speak to an attorney and depending on the size of the judgement (especially with almost 20 years of statutory interest), a couple of hundred dollars for 30 minutes of an attorneys time might be well spent here.

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I  respectfully disagree with your interpretation.  Once the judgement is rendered, 351 no longer applies.  In you reply you state that 


What the creditor has is a judgement in California. Since you moved to Colorado, the California SOL is tolled and the CO SOL for obtaining judgements takes effect meaning that the creditor needs to obtain a foreign judgement in CO within the SOL after you moved there.

The CCP section 351 tolling provisions apply when the cause of action accrues and the defendant moves out of state.  Once the judgement is rendered, the tolling provisions of 351 no longer apply and the SOL provisions for judgements - 10 years - now apply.  The judgement creditor has the right to Renew prior to the expiration of the judgement.  They also have access to the "long arm" statutes to seek enforcement, but I have not seen any tolling provisions for the SOL once the judgement is rendered.  351, to my knowledge, only applies prior to judgement being awarded.



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Again, if you disagree then you need to speak to an attorney as I am not one and my advice is worth exactly what you paid for it.

In any case, I was discussing the CO SOL for use if the creditor decides to file for a foreign judgement. The date it would start would be the day that you moved to CO and would end after the number of years of SOL has run (I don't think for a judgement but for filing a case). That would be 6 years. After that, they cannot file a foreign judgement but until the judgement expires in CA, the creditor can continue to collect in CA, just not CO.

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One more point,


General Rule: The State of California imposes time deadline called “statute of limitations” (SOL) - (this is different than the SOL on the enforcement of the judgement, once rendered).  If you don’t fully settle your claim or file a lawsuit within a certain time period, you forever lose your right to recovery or remedy against the wrongdoing person, business or entity if the SOL defense is asserted and proven.




Sections 351 through 356 of the California Code of Civil Procedure set forth circumstances that toll (suspend, delay, extend, increase and/or lengthen) the limitations period.  For example:

Defendant Absent from State: CCP Section 351
Absence of defendant from the state of California between start date and end date of the SOL generally lengthens the SOL by the amount of the length of absence out of the state.


The SOL talked about in 351 only applies to a plaintiff who is seeking to settle a claim or file suit.
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I am not taking about CA section 351. I am talking about what happens when you leave a state after a judgement is obtained by a creditor.

Let's do this scenario. Let's say in 2018, a creditor obtains a judgement against me in Minnesota and in 2020, I move to South Dakota. The judgement in Minnesota is still valid for 10 years (until 2028) when the creditor must file a new case in order to renew the judgement (most don't because renewal is too time consuming and expensive in Minnesota). However, the creditor cannot collect on any assets in South Dakota until they obtain a foreign judgement. They can however try to collect on any assets I might have left in Minnesota. Now South Dakota has 6 years to commence a case, even one for a foreign judgement (a foreign judgement is one that was obtained in another state). This means that the creditor would have until 2026 to obtain the foreign judgement. If they don't do that, they cannot collect in South Dakota. They would still have the right to collect in Minnesota until 2028.

Now let's show this in your case. You judgement was obtained in 2001 and you moved from CA to CO in 2003. The SOL for commencing a case in CO is 6 years. That means that if the creditor wanted to collect on your assets in CO, they would have had to file a case by 2009. The SOL started the day you moved to CO. Between 2009 and 2011, the creditor could still collect on my assets left in or connected to CA. If they renewed the judgement before 2011, they could still try to collect in CA. If they did not renew the judgement, then it has expired.

Again, I am not 100% certain and you honestly should pay a lawyer. A $1000 debt will now have grown to $2800+ with statutory interests from 2001. $300 for a lawyer to find out where you stand on this would not be a bad investment.

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