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Corporate judgment debtor examination (JD Exam) in California

A corporate Judgment Debtor Examination(JD Exam) in California is the topic of this blog post.   The relevant statute in California is Code of Civil Procedure section 708.150 which details the procedure in California for examining a corporation, partnership, association, trust, or other organization. I will use the term JD Exam in this blog post however this procedure is also known by various names including an examination of judgment debtor or order to appear for examination (ORAP).

A JD Exam is basically just like a post-judgment deposition and can be very useful in identifying  property in the possession or control of the judgment debtor that can be used to satisfy the judgment. The California Courts have ruled that the purpose of the JD Exam is to require the judgment debtor to give information regarding their property and the judgment creditor is allowed the widest scope of inquiry concerning all property and business affairs of the judgment debtor.

I want to emphasize that if you want to schedule a JD Exam for any corporation or other fictitious entity in California you should always specify the name of an officer or manager if you have one on the application and order for appearance and examination using California Judicial Council Form EJ-125 as an officer, manager, etc of the fictitious entity. This is due to the fact that the great majority of the time the sheriff will refuse to enforce a bench warrant issued against a corporation that does not name a specific individual on the grounds that it is clearly not practical to arrest a corporation.

In situations where the examination order does not specify a particular person who is to appear it is a good idea to request that a bench warrant or order to show cause (OSC) be issued against the person who was served with the original examination order on the corporation’s behalf as this will specifically identify a particular person for the sheriff to arrest.

Code of Civil Procedure section 708.150 states that,

“(a) If a corporation, partnership, association, trust, or other organization is served with an order to appear for an examination, it shall designate to appear and be examined one or more officers, directors, managing agents, or other persons who are familiar with its property and debts.

(b) If the order to appear for an examination requires the appearance of a specified individual, the specified individual shall appear for the examination and may be accompanied by one or more officers, directors, managing agents, or other persons familiar with the property and debts of the corporation, partnership, association, trust, or other organization.

(c) If the order to appear for the examination does not require the appearance of a specified individual, the order shall advise the corporation, partnership, association, trust, or other organization of its duty to make a designation under subdivision (a).

(d) A corporation, partnership, association, trust, or other organization, whether or not a party, may appear at an examination through any authorized officer, director, or employee, whether or not the person is an attorney.”

Any JD Exam will be much more effective if the judgment creditor requests that the judgment debtor produce in court all documents that detail their assets and liabilities. Any person that is an officer, director or a managing agent of a fictitious entity may be served with a notice to appear and produce documents and other tangible evidence in his or her possession pursuant to Code of Civil Procedure § 1987(b), (c).

The notice to appear and produce documents must be personally served at least 20 days before the examination date (25 days if served by mail.) The notice to appear and produce documents should be served with the examination order (or sooner). See Lee v. Swansboro Country Property Owners Ass’n (2007) 151 Cal.App. 4th 575, 582 (citing text).

I want to stress that you should always provide the witness with a check for the witness fee of $35.00 per day plus the mileage fee of $.20 per mile each way to and from the courthouse at the time that the notice to appear and produce documents is served. If you do not do so the witness cannot be compelled to appear and produce documents.

Attorneys or parties in California that would like to view a portion of a sample 12 page notice to appear and produce documents at hearing designed for a corporate judgment debtor in California including brief instructions, citations to case law and statutory authority, sample list of documents to be produced and proof of service sold by the author can see below.

The author of this blog post, Stan Burman, is a freelance paralegal who has worked in California and Federal litigation since 1995. Visit his website at http://www.legaldocspro.net

If you enjoy this blog post, tell others about it. They can subscribe to the author’s weekly California and Federal legal newsletter by visiting the following link: http://www.legaldocspro.net/newsletter.htm

Copyright 2015 Stan Burman. All rights reserved.

DISCLAIMER:

Please note that the author of this blog post, Stan Burman is NOT an attorney and as such is unable to provide any specific legal advice. The author is NOT engaged in providing any legal, financial, or other professional services, and any information contained in this blog post is NOT intended to constitute legal advice.

These materials and information contained in this blog post have been prepared by Stan Burman for informational purposes only and are not legal advice. Transmission of the information contained in this blog post is not intended to create, and receipt does not constitute, any business relationship between the author and any readers. Readers should not act upon this information without seeking professional counsel.

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