180-Day Rule, Not 15-Day Rule, Applied.
Notice of entry of judgment is a key concept for determining whether certain subsequent filings are timely in nature. Code of Civil Procedure section 664.5 provides that notice of entry of judgment mailed by the clerk must “affirmatively state it is given upon order by the court” or “under section 664.5.” (Van Beurden Ins. Services, Inc. v. Customized Worldwide Weather Ins. Agency, Inc., 15 Cal.4th 51, 64 (1997).) Of course, a party can mail notice of entry of judgment to avoid any reliance on a clerk’s action—a practice tip that we endorse in order to get deadlines running.
The question in Thrifty Payless, Inc. v. Mariners Mile Gateway, LLC, Case No. G049333 (4th Dist., Div. 3 Jan. 12, 2015) (unpublished) was whether the 15-day or longer 180-day deadline governed a prevailing party’s time for filing of a costs memorandum. A trial court determined the longer period was in play, awarding Thrifty Payless $327,932.71 in costs, most of which comprised preliminary injunction bond premiums. The opposing side did not prevail, claiming the costs memorandum was untimely filed outside of the 15-day period (although it was timely under the longer time frame).
Justice Moore, on behalf of a 3-0 panel, affirmed the costs award to Thrifty Payless.
Section 664.5, as interpreted by Van Beurden and other cases, is clear in requiring the magic language in the clerk’s mailing, language that was missing in this case. Losing side argued that California Rules of Court, rule 3.1700 allowed any mailing by the clerk to be sufficient to trigger the 15-day deadline, but the appellate court found that “specific statute controls over the more general” such that the clerk had to comply with section 664.5, which the clerk did not as far as the wording in its notice.
Of course, a notice from a party could have done the trick, but the only notice received in this one was from the clerk.