Attorneys' Fees

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Following Landis v. Pinkertons, Inc. (2004) 122 Cal.App.4th 985, this decision holds that an arbitrator lacks the power to correct a final award.  Here, the arbitrator issued an award that resolved all submitted issues, including denying the defendant's motion for an attorney fee award, but then later issued a revised award granting $73,000 in attorney fees to defendant.  The revised… Read More

The trial court properly awarded Travelers' opponent attorney fees under CC 1717.  The opponent had successfully prosecuted an administrative complaint which resulted in voiding the agreement containing the attorney fee clause.  The administrative proceeding was an "action" for purposes of CC 1717 and it was "on the contract" since had Travelers prevailed it could have collected attorney fees for enforcing… Read More

The trial court properly denied plaintiff attorney fees under CCP 1021.5 when it obtained a preliminary injunction requiring Prop. 65 warnings on coffee but later lost on summary judgment.  The temporary warnings did not confer any substantial benefit on the general public.  The Coffee Regulation later adopted by the agency responsible for Prop. 65 showed that coffee poses no significant… Read More

Affirming an attorney fee award of $10,000 instead of the requested $34,000 in a simple ADA case, this decision holds that the district court judge adequately explained why he used a blended hourly rate and reduced hours by 65%, finding that the case was simple, most of the work could have been done by junior attorneys or paralegals, and much… Read More

Plaintiff, a public interest group that was not itself harmed, sued two immigration consultants who had posted statutory bonds issued by Hudson as required under the Immigration Consultant Act (Bus. & Prof. Code 22440 et seq.), seeking injunctive relief for violation of that act.  This decision holds that plaintiff cannot recover its attorney fees from the surety, Hudson, because the… Read More

This decision reverses a judgment for the employee in a suit for unpaid overtime wages because of a botched special verdict question regarding the employer's affirmative defense that the employee was an exempt executive under Wage Order No. 5.  The question asked only if the employee spent more than 50% of her time on exempt duties.  The question overemphasized the… Read More

Under CCP 1987.2, a party that moves to quash a subpoena for that party's personal identifying information may recover attorney fees upon demonstrating (i) he prevailed on the motion to quash, (ii) the underlying action arises from the party's exercise of free speech rights on the Internet, and (iii) the plaintiff in that proceeding did not make a prima facie… Read More

This decision holds that under Civ. Code 9564 (providing for attorney fees in suits on construction surety bonds) and CCP 1032, the prevailing party is entitled to recover attorney fees and costs even if that party has been represented at no cost to that party--as here, the prevailing surety's defense was paid under by the construction contractor-principal on the bond… Read More

After 601 sued Frum for rent due under his lease, Frym cross-complained against 601, its owner DiCarli, and their attorney, Leoni.  The three cross-defendants brought separate Anti-SLAPP motions to dismiss.  DiCarli's was heard first.  She prevailed and was awarded attorney fees.  Frym then dismissed his claims against 601 and Leoni before their motions were heard.  This decision holds that the… Read More

The trial court properly awarded plaintiff elder enhanced damages and attorney fees under the Elder Abuse Act based on defendant's depriving plaintiff of her right under Los Angeles' rent control law to re-rent her apartment after the defendant landlord returned it to the rental market within five years after evicting plaintiff under the Ellis Act.  The statutory right to re-rent… Read More

The trial court erred in denying defendant attorney fees under the Anti-SLAPP statute when defendant prevailed on the motion to strike as to the abuse of process claim, though not as to the malicious prosecution claim.  Fees must be awarded to the moving defendant upon partial success of the motion, though the amount of the fee award is properly proportioned… Read More

Following Birbrower, Montalbano, Condon & Frank v. Superior Court (1998) 17 Cal.4th 119 and distinguishing Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton, LLP v. J-M Manufacturing Co., Inc. (2018) 6 Cal.5th 59, this decision affirms a judgment confirming an arbitration award in defendant's favor.  Even though one of defendant's lawyers was unlicensed in California when he performed part of the work under… Read More

The trial court did not abuse its discretion in denying private attorney general fees to Malibu homeowners who successfully challenged a proposed special assessment to protect a beach and nearby homes from erosion.  The trial court correctly estimated the homeowners' potential benefit from the suit as the amount of assessments they sought to avoid over the 20-year period of the… Read More

This decision holds that Civil Code 1717 does not authorize a trial court to award attorney fees before entry of final judgment.  Here, the trial court granted summary adjudication for plaintiff on contract claims, but tort and statutory claims remained unresolved.  The summary adjudication order was not a final judgment.  It was subject to modification under the court's inherent power. … Read More

This decision holds that (1) a probate court does not have inherent equitable power to award attorney fees except from a beneficiary's share of a trust or estate involved in the litigation, but (2) Probate Code 15642(d), the court may award attorney fees against a party payable from his personal assets for filing a bad faith petition to remove a… Read More

Following Van Patten v. Vertical Fitness Group, LLC (9th Cir. 2017) 847 F.3d 1037, 1044-1045, this decision affirms summary judgment for defendant in this TCPA suit based on a finding that plaintiff gave his express consent to defendant's text messaging his cellphone.   A person who knowingly releases his cellphone number consents to be called at that number so long as… Read More

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