Jan 12, 2021
Code of Civil Procedure Section 664.6 Is Now Lawyer-Friendly
[Published in the Los Angeles & San Francisco Daily Journal, January 5, 2021]
Most settlement agreements provide that the entire action shall be dismissed and the court shall retain jurisdiction under Code of Civil Procedure Section 664.6 to enforce the settlement terms. Voluntary dismissal of an action terminates the court’s jurisdiction over the matter. A request for the trial court to retain jurisdiction under Section 664.6 must meet three requirements: (1) The request must be made during the pendency of the case, not after the case has been dismissed in its entirety; (2) by the parties themselves; and (3) either in a writing signed by the parties or orally before the court. Wackeen v. Malis, 97 Cal. App. 4th 429, 440 (2002).
In the past, some stipulations to retain jurisdiction were deemed invalid because the writing was not signed by the parties. Assembly Bill 2723 amends Section 664.6 and expands the party-signature requirement to provide that the writing may also be signed by an attorney who represents a party, or, if a party is an insurer, an agent who is authorized in writing by the insurer to sign on the insurer’s behalf. The amendment took effect Jan. 1. The prior restrictive party-signature requirement created problems for the unwary, as illustrated in the following examples.