COLLECTING ON A JUDGMENT DURING THE APPEAL—OR STAYING ANY COLLECTION EFFORT
Does acceptance of review by the Court of Appeals prevent a party from executing on a judgment obtained in the trial court?
No. The Civil Rules provide for an automatic 10 day stay on the execution of any judgment, commencing with the entry of the judgment. With the filing of a Notice of Appeal, this automatic stay is extended to 14 days. CR 62(a). In order to stay execution on a money judgment during the entire appeal process, the appellant must either deposit cash in the amount of the judgment, plus interest and likely attorney’s fees to be awarded on appeal, or post a bond (referred to as a “supersedeas bond”) in the same amount. RAP 8.1(c)(1). The amount of the bond or cash deposit required to stay execution on a judgment affecting title to real or personal property is given by RAP 8.1(c)(2). Qualifications of who may serve as the surety on a bond are set forth in RAP 8.4.
What happens if execution on the judgment is not stayed, and the judgment is eventually reversed?
If the judgment is not stayed, the party that prevailed in the trial court can execute on the judgment. If the judgment is then overturned on appeal, the trial court is authorized to “enter orders and authorize the issuance of process appropriate to restore to the [ultimately prevailing] party any property taken from that party, the value of the property, or in appropriate circumstances, provide restitution.” RAP 12.8. If the party that previously executed on the judgment no longer has the money or property in question, the party that prevailed on appeal may be left holding the bag. This risk can be averted by staying the execution of the judgment as set forth in RAP 8.2. If a party fails to stay execution of the original judgment, the courts will not be sympathetic to claims for special relief if the money (or property) has disappeared by the time the judgment is reversed.
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