When you have been granted damages in your trial and are eager to enforce the judgment promptly, encountering a defendant’s request for a stay of court can bring about certain expectations. A stay essentially entails the suspension of the judgment while the defendant pursues an appeal against the decision made by the trial court. In such circumstances, it is crucial to be aware of the implications and practical considerations involved. Gusdorff Law offers valuable insights into what you should anticipate when faced with a defendant’s request for a stay.
Determining When a Defendant Should Request a Stay (Or Refrain From Doing So) Is an Important Consideration.
Certain trial court decisions, such as declaratory judgments in California, are typically automatically stayed upon filing an appeal. In such cases, where no monetary payment or land exchange is involved between the parties, the defendant would not need to take any further action apart from proceeding with the appeal.
However, for judgments that are not automatically stayed, the defendant will need to make a formal request for a stay. In such situations, the defendant is typically required to take additional steps to obtain the stay. As the plaintiff, it is important for you to have a clear understanding of what the defendant must do (or not do) in your specific case. To provide some guidance, here are a few fundamental guidelines to consider:
- Money judgment. In order to obtain a stay, the defendant must formally request it and fulfill the requirement of providing security, which may include posting an appeal bond or undertaking.
- Judgment granting a mandatory injunction. This particular type of judgment will be automatically stayed without requiring any additional action.
- Judgment granting or denying a prohibitory injunction. To secure a stay, the defendant must obtain a stay order from the appellate court or seek a writ of supersedeas. This is necessary to halt the enforcement of the judgment pending the appeal process.
- Judgment ordering the sale, conveyance, or delivery of real or personal property. Judgments that involve actions such as the sale of personal property or foreclosure of a mortgage or other lien can be stayed by posting security. In such cases, the defendant is required to provide a form of financial assurance to pause the execution of the judgment during the appeal process.
It is important to note that stays do not completely restrict the authority of the trial court. The court retains jurisdiction and can still take certain actions in matters such as the following:
- Collateral issues
- New trial motions
- Correcting clerical errors
- Awarding costs
- Awarding statutory attorney fees
- Settling a statement on appeal
Why The Defendant May Request a Stay
The primary objective of a stay is to maintain the existing state of affairs between the parties, preserving the contentious matter for the courts to adjudicate. By doing so, the stay helps ensure that any decision made by the appellate court will have a meaningful impact and relevance to the case.
The defendant may request a stay of judgment based on the argument of potential irreparable harm. They must demonstrate that without a stay, they would lose the benefits of an appeal. For instance, if a judgment mandates the sale of real property, allowing the sale to proceed could result in an irreversible transaction. From the defendant’s perspective, the judgment would cause irreparable harm unless stayed.
A stay relieves the defendant from the immediate obligation to comply with the trial court’s decision. However, the defendant typically needs to take proactive steps to initiate and enforce the stay.
Let Us Advise Your Team on What to Expect Following Trial
Although a stay can be frustrating, it is crucial for a plaintiff to be prepared and not caught off guard. Having knowledge of the potential actions or inactions of the defendant can assist in managing expectations and understanding when the judgment might be executed. Gusdorff Law is here to provide guidance through the intricacies of stays and can offer insights into what to anticipate if the defendant seeks a stay. Feel free to reach out to us to learn more about this matter.