Attorney’s Liens/Retainer Agreements—Primo Hospitality Group, Inc. v. The Americana At Brand, LLC, Case No. B271188 (2d Dist., Div. 5 Nov. 17, 2017) (Unpublished).
In this case, which involved some interesting third-party creditor and offset issues of interest to judgment collection attorneys, the appellate court did agree that attorney’s liens do not have to comply with UCC perfection requirements in order to be valid. It also determined that “gross recovery” under a contingency agreement will be determined by what recovery was effectively gained by a client after considering gains under a complaint and hits under a cross-complaint, with waiver of set-offs not making a difference as far as a recovery to attorneys.
Judgment Enforcement—Grail Semiconductor, Inc. v. Mitsubishi Electric & Electronics USA, Case No. H043762 (6th Dist. Nov. 17, 2017) (Unpublished).
This was one shows how judgment creditors with a foreign federal district court judgment need to strictly comply with California judgment enforcement procedures. What happened here, in brief, was that attorney obtained a substantial award for attorney services against a former client in New York federal court, then liening client’s potential recovery in a case which was ultimately settled and dismissed (but only attached the New York federal court judgment, not registered in California). The problem for attorneys was that they did not have an effective lien against the case which earlier settled such that moneys were disbursed. The reason is very technical—they did not register the judgment in California, relying instead on the New York judgment which was ineffective for registration and lien purposes. Ouch! The interesting thing about this decision is whether it would have recognized a prior effective registration of the federal judgment in California as being valid without going through other obstacles—although we personally think a different result likely would have occurred if the judgment had been registered in California. If you are out-of-state California attorneys seeking to enforce a judgment in this state, engage competent California judgment enforcement collection (and, vice versa, for California attorneys in other states).