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Tentative Ruling
Judge Thomas Anderle
Department 3 SB-Anacapa
1100 Anacapa Street P.O. Box 21107 Santa Barbara, CA 93121-1107

CIVIL LAW & MOTION

Mel Bloom vs Falk Construction Inc

Case No: SB199388
Hearing Date: Tue Dec 17, 2013 9:30

Nature of Proceedings: Motion Expunge and/or Remove Lien on Real Property

Motion to Expunge and/or Remove Lien on Real Property RULINGS: The motion to expunge the judgment lien (abstract of judgment) that was recorded against the moving party’s property is granted as the judgment was not renewed and has expired. BACKGROUND: Plaintiff Mel Bloom was the owner of a single family residence located at 501 San Antonio Road, Ojai, California. Defendant Max Falk Construction, Inc. was a general contractor. In April 1992, plaintiff and defendant entered into a written contract for the remodeling of the subject residence. The contract called for construction to begin on April 10, 1992 and to be completed by August 17, 1992. Plaintiff claimed that the work was performed in an incomplete and negligent manner and on November 4, 1993 he filed suit against defendant for breach of contract and negligence. On August 3, 1994, an arbitrator awarded damages to plaintiff in the sum of $26,281.71. The award was entered as a judgment on September 20, 1994. (RJN, Ex. A.) The judgment was modified on January 11, 1995 to include an award of attorney’s fees and on October 30, 1995 to add Max Falk as a judgment debtor. (RJN, Exs. B, C.) Olga Falk, the widow of Max Falk (Mr. Falk died in 2012), as interested party, now moves the court for an order expunging and/or removing the judgment lien (“Abstract of Judgment”) that was recorded against her home on November 16, 1995. Ms. Falk states that the judgment lien has prevented her from refinancing her home. Plaintiff was personally served with the moving papers on November 7, 2013, but has not filed any opposition to the motion. ANALYSIS: A money judgment is enforceable for 10 years from the date of entry of judgment. Code of Civil Procedure Section 683.020 provides: “Except as otherwise provided by statute, upon the expiration of 10 years after the date of entry of a money judgment or a judgment for possession or sale of real property: “(a) The judgment may not be enforced. “(b) All enforcement procedures pursuant to the judgment or to a writ or order issued pursuant to the judgment shall cease. “(c) Any lien created by an enforcement procedure pursuant to the judgment is extinguished.” The period of enforceability of a money judgment may be extended if the judgment is renewed “at any time before the expiration of the 10-year period of enforceability.” Code Civ. Proc. §683.130, subd. (a). The filing of an application to extend a judgment extends the judgment for another 10 years. Code of Civil Procedure Section 683.120 provides, in relevant part: “(a) The judgment creditor may renew a judgment by filing an application for renewal of the judgment with the court in which the judgment was entered. “(b) Except as otherwise provided in this article, the filing of the application renews the judgment . . . and extends the period of enforceability of the judgment as renewed for a period of 10 years from the date the application is filed. . . .” In this case, the money judgment, as modified, was entered on October 30, 1995. Plaintiff therefore had until October 30, 2005 to renew the judgment. That never happened. Because the judgment was not renewed, it is no longer enforceable and any liens that were created pursuant to the judgment are null and void. See, Iliff v. Dustrud (2003) 107 Cal.App.4th 1201, 1207 (by the statute’s plain terms, a money judgment may not be enforced 10 years after entry of the judgment unless the judgment is renewed). The court will therefore grant Ms. Falk’s motion. Any judgment liens or abstracts of judgment that were recorded against her property based upon the original judgment on September 20, 1994, or the modified judgments on January 11, 1995 and October 30, 1995, are ordered stricken as the judgment has expired.