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Plaintiff voluntarily dismissed its misappropriation of trade secrets claim, but continued to prosecute six other causes of action against defendant.  Defendant moved unsuccessfully for an attorney fee award under Civ. Code 3426.4 which allows fee awards for trade secrets claims brought in bad faith.  Defendant's appeal from the order denying its fee motion was dismissed.  The order was not a… Read More

A provision in an attorney's contingency fee agreement that purported to allow the attorney to consent on the client's behalf (and over the client's objection) to any settlement offer that the attorney thought was reasonable and in the client's best interest violated the Rules of Professional Conduct and was void.  Such a provision creates an immediate, direct conflict of interest… Read More

Hom entered into a lease with tenant.  The lease granted extensive rights to lenders to tenant, including performing tenant's obligations and assuming its rights under the lease.  Tenant sued Hom who cross-complained against tenant and Petrou, a lender to tenant.  As part of his settlement with tenant, Hom dismissed his cross-complaint against Petrou as well.  Petrou was awarded attorney fees… Read More

The trial court did not abuse its discretion in denying plaintiff's motion for an attorney fee award on the ground that neither party had prevailed in the action.  Plaintiff tenant sued his landlord, asked the jury to award him $200,000 but recovered a jury verdict of only $6,450.  In view of plaintiff's recovery of such a small percentage of the… Read More

The trial court did not abuse its discretion in deeming plaintiffs the prevailing parties, entitled to an attorney fee award under Civ. Code 5975(c).  Plaintiffs sued their homeowners association, claiming it had not complied with the CC&Rs' requirement for homeowner approval in connection with its plan to erect a traffic light at the gate immediately adjacent to plaintiffs' property.  After… Read More

In awarding fees under CCP 425.16, the trial court did not err in using a market rate for the hourly rate rather than the discounted rate that defense attorneys charge high-volume insurance clients.  This market rate approach has been applied in cases involving in-house counsel, contingency fees, and pro bono work. The reasonable market rate need not mirror the actual… Read More

When an employee is the prevailing party on claims for minimum or overtime wages, she is entitled to a reasonable attorney fee on the claim pursuant to Lab. Code 1194.  That section prevails over Lab. Code 1031, which would otherwise limit the attorney fee to 20% of the recovery if the employee recovers less than $300.  The two statutes conflict,… Read More

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