Legal Question in Appeals and Writs in California

small claims judgment, paid by insurance co., how to record

Small claims judgment finds for Little League (plantif)for scoreboard said to be donated by defendant. Court said defendant to return property by 3/02, plantif to send payment plan by 12/01 then pay, if returned by 9/03.

Defendant did not return property. Insurance company has now paid plantif for scoreboard and asks for subrogation letter to be signed.

How can we get the judgment for plantif vacated? We have been paid by the insurance company and do not want to have any outstanding debt owed by the Little League. Can we file a statisfaction of judgement although property was not returned? Does subrogation letter filed with the court satisfy the judgment automatically?

Asked on 5/18/02, 1:47 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

Steven Murray Steven W. Murray, APC

Re: small claims judgment, paid by insurance co., how to record

Your question is confusing. Are you the defendant or the plaintiff?

When a judgment is satisfied, that means the defendant or HIS insurer paid the judgment, and there is nothing left for the defendant to do under the judgment. A plaintiff whose own insurer pays its judgment against a third party (the defendant) still has an outstanding judgment against that defendant until HE or HIS insurer pays it.

A plaintiff's insurer which pays its own insured's claim for property damage has subrogation rights as a matter of law, and under its policy and does not need a letter from the insured to be able to enforce the judgment. It is not harmful for the insured to give such an agreement provided the insured has gotten all of its damages arising from the defendant's act, because frequently the injured party's insurer will not pay for all damage the injured party incurs. That means the plaintiff injured party judgment creditor still has the right to collect against the defendant judgment debtor for all uninsured losses, and the insurer has to wait (generally) until its own insured has been made whole.

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Answered on 5/19/02, 11:10 am

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