Contractual Attorney Fee Provisions are Superseded by Judgment

Judgment Must Specifically Include Attorney Fees In Order to Obtain Post- Judgment Fees

This is an important reminder to all that, as a general rule, when a judgment is rendered on a case involving a contract that includes an attorney fees and costs provision, the judgment extinguishes all further contractual rights, including the contractual attorney fees clause; thus, in the absence of express statutory authorization, post-judgment attorney fees cannot be recovered. Chelios v. Kaye (1990) 219 Cal.App.3d 75.

However, if the underlying judgment includes an award of contractually-based attorney fees, then the party seeking to enforce the judgment may obtain post-trial attorney fees incurred to enforce the judgment; in that case, the award of post-judgment attorney fees is not based on the survival of the contract, but is instead based on the award of attorney fees and costs in the trial judgment. Jaffe v. Pacelli (2008) 165 Cal.App.4th 927, 82 Cal.Rptr.3d 423.

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