Contract picOne of the simplest ways for a plaintiff involved in a commercial breach of contract claim to increase its chance at recovering damages is to apply for a writ of attachment. California Code of Civil Procedure section 483.010 provides for writs of attachment to be issued where: (1) a claim is based upon a contract; (2) for a fixed or ascertainable amount of not less than $500; (3) that is unsecured or secured by personal property; and (4) on a commercial claim.

If the application for the writ is granted, in addition to being able to lien a defendant’s personal property, a successful applicant can put a lien on a defendant’s real property. Writs of attachment are particularly effective tools if a plaintiff anticipates a lengthy delay between when a case is filed and when a judgment is entered, either because of court congestion or because of the complexity of the matter. In such circumstances, a successful application allows a plaintiff to put a judgment lien on a defendant’s real property, thereby making it less likely that the defendant can refinance away the equity before resolution of the matter. Often times, such liens are the difference between recovery and having nothing to show for years of legal wrangling.  Courts sometimes are reluctant to grant writs, so plaintiffs should use experenced lawyers for this kind of work.