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Barrister, Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 38229
Experience:  17 years real estate, Realtor. Landlord 26 years
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I received a default judgement on a civil case in which I was

Customer Question

I received a default judgement on a civil case in which I was one of two tenants (defendants) after a house fire caused by negligence on behalf of the other tenant (in the California Superior Court). It is past the 30 day window to appeal. What steps can I take next to not be held culpable for the judgment amount? The other tenant already went to on record with the fire inspector as having been the negligent party. Do I need to turn around and sue her? Would I need to sue her for the full amount + a whatever a structured settlement company would take off the top to cover the full amount of the judgement?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  Barrister replied 2 years ago.
Hello and welcome! My name is ***** ***** I will try my level best to help with your situation or get you to someone who can.
The problem here is that when there are multiple tenants, then they are both liable to the landlord for any damages that either of them cause under the legal doctrine of "joint and several liability". So even if the other tenant was the cause of the damage, they can hold you liable.
And yes, your recourse here is to sue the other tenant for anything that you might have to pay (assuming that the other tenant doesn't pay the entire judgment). If you have to incur fees to pay the judgment, then you can sue for those as well because you wouldn't have incurred them but for the negligence of the other tenant.