By Blake Alsbrook of Ervin Cohen & Jessup, LLP,
on behalf of the LACBA Remedies Section Executive Committee
Over the years, I have come to realize that the best litigators are practical: they are good problem-solvers with a strong grasp of the legal tools available to them. Indeed, a judgment alone is worthless where there is no money to pay it and no means to enforce it. This is why remedies are important. At the beginning of a case, the most important question is not whether you can obtain a judgment, but whether obtaining that judgment will do your client any good, and whether there is something short of taking a case to trial that would obtain the same result.
A good litigator has a checklist of remedies available, and might begin a case by asking questions like “does it make sense to have a receiver appointed to make sure defendant does not flee overseas with the assets during litigation,” or “could I put a stop to defendant’s bad acts quickly and with relatively little heavy lifting by obtaining a temporary restraining order?” Or, as importantly, “if the court issues a writ of possession or an attachment, will it force the defendant to settle without the need for me to take this case to trial?” After a judgment is obtained, the wise practitioner has a separate toolkit, and may find herself asking “should I simply record an abstract of judgment against the judgment debtor’s real property and let interest accrue at a 10% rate (which sounds particularly tempting given the current 10-Year Treasury yield), or would my client benefit from also seeking a wage garnishment?”
These are the sort of questions that good litigators ask, and the Remedies Section attempts to provide them with answers. In this Newsletter, we have collected five articles that provide insight into the remedies available to litigators and novel issues that have arisen in recent years. In addition, the Section regularly hosts speaking events such as its “Nuts and Bolts” series, where experts delve into important remedies, or its “Breakfast with the Experts” presentation, where attendees are given practice pointers by the Judges from the Writs and Receivers Department of the Los Angeles Superior Court. We hope that you enjoy this issue and that you join us at a future event.