Claiming costs after entry of judgment in California is the topic of this article. Claiming prejudgment costs after entry of a judgment in California is requires the filing and service of a verified memorandum of costs by the prevailing party entitled to costs.
The law in California states that a memorandum of costs must be verified by the party or their attorney and must be served and filed within a specified deadline. However I do want to emphasize that because each case is unique due to different circumstances the actual deadline for any particular case depends on a variety of factors which will be discussed below.
The deadline in California to file and serve a memorandum of costs is stated in California Rule of Court 3.1700(a)(1) which states in pertinent part that, “A prevailing party who claims costs must serve and file a memorandum of costs within 15 days after the date of mailing of the notice of entry of judgment or dismissal by the clerk under Code of Civil Procedure section 664.5 or the date of service of written notice of entry of judgment or dismissal, or within 180 days after entry of judgment, whichever is first.”
Code of Civil Procedure § 664.5 sets for the specific requirements for the notice of entry of judgment and should be carefully reviewed.
However I cannot stress enough that in order for a clerk’s notice of entry of judgment to trigger the 15-day deadline it must comply with Code of Civil Procedure § 664.5. In some cases a clerk will simply mail a file-stamped copy of the judgment with something attached known as a Certificate of Mailing which does not satisfy the “service pursuant to court order” requirement of subdivision of Code of Civil Procedure § 664.5 and as a result fails to start the 15-day clock running as has been stated by the California Supreme Court in at least two published cases.
Attorneys or parties in California should carefully review any notice of entry of judgment served by the clerk to determine whether or not the clerk has served a notice of entry of judgment that fully complies with the provisions of Code of Civil Procedure § 664.5 including a statement that the document mailed by the clerk is being given upon “order of the court” or “under section 664.5”. If the clerk fails to do so and no other party serves and files a notice of entry of judgment the deadline to file and serve a memorandum of costs is 180 days after entry of judgment.