Defendant secured a judgment against Mansdorf and recorded an abstract of judgment, thus obtaining a judgment lien on Mansdorf’s property, all while he was still alive. Plaintiff purchased Mansdorf’s real property at an execution sale held under a junior judgment lien against Mansdorf’s property after Mansdorf’s death and then brought this suit, trying to clear title to the property clear of defendant’s judgment lien. Held, judgment for plaintiff is reversed. CCP 366.2 which requires suit to be brought against a decedent within a year after his death does not apply to enforcement of a judgment lien, but rather to claims that have yet to be resolved by entry of a judgment. As explained in Corporation of America v. Marks (1937) 10 Cal.2d 218, a judgment lien continues in force after a judgment debtor’s death for a period of 10 years after entry of judgment unless earlier paid or discharged. The judgment creditor may choose to file a claim in the debtor’s estate (or against his trust) if the creditor wishes to recover any deficiency from the estate or trust. Otherwise, the judgment creditor may waive the right to a deficiency by bringing a separate action to foreclose the judgment lien. The court refuses to follow contrary dicta in a footnote in Embree v. Embree (2004) 125 Cal.App.4th 487.
California Court of Appeal, Second Appellate District, Division 6 (Gilbert, P.J.); May 2, 2018; 2018 Cal. App. LEXIS 392