California Code of Civil Procedure Section 579 - Interpretation
Despite the language of Code of Civil Procedure section 579 (judgment may be entered "against" one or more defendants), the section has been consistently construed as authorizing entry of judgment in favor of one or more defendants.
In Justus v. Atchison (1977) 19 Cal. 3d 564, 568 139 Cal. Rptr. 97, 565 P.2d 122, the court ruled that judgments of dismissal on orders sustaining demurrers to certain causes of action were properly entered in favor of the defendants, when "the judgments . . . disposed . . . of all the causes of action in which the husbands are plaintiffs."
That the plaintiff wives remained in the case is a "circumstance that does not affect the reason for the exception to the one final judgment rule, i.e., that it better serves the interests of justice to afford prompt appellate review to a party whose rights or liabilities have been definitively adjudicated than to require him to await the final outcome of trial proceedings which are of no further concern to him." (Ibid.)
Similarly, in Estate of Gonzalez (1990) 219 Cal. App. 3d 1598, 1601-1602 269 Cal. Rptr. 68, the Court stated that, "It is well settled that where, as here, there is a judgment resolving all issues between a plaintiff and one defendant, then either party may appeal from an adverse judgment, even though the action remains pending between the plaintiff and other defendants."
Moreover, Code of Civil Procedure section 579 is preceded by section 578, which states, "Judgment may be given for or against one or more of several plaintiffs, and for or against one or more of several defendants; and it may, when the justice of the case requires it, determine the ultimate rights of the parties on each side, as between themselves."
This section has been construed to mean that "judgment may be given for or against one or more of several defendants." ( Martin v. Cinelli (1960) 183 Cal. App. 2d 509, 512 7 Cal. Rptr. 62.)
Thus, there is ample authority for the proposition that the trial court, in its discretion, may enter judgment in favor of one or more defendants when all issues between those defendants and the plaintiff have been adjudicated, even though the action remains pending against those defendants who have not obtained adjudication of all issues.