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Attorneys' Fees

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When a contract’ attorney fee clause is broad enough to cover tort as well as contract claims, the defendant is the prevailing party entitled to a fee award on the tort, but not the contract, claims when the plaintiff voluntarily dismisses the action before trial.  Read More

In a suit seeking to overturn a state regulatory body’s cease-and-desist order that was preventing purchase of water rights, plaintiff water district was not entitled to a fee award under the Private Attorney General Act because its own financial interest in completing the purchase contract—broadly construed—far exceeded the amount it spent on attorney fees.  Read More

Plaintiff reasonably rejected earlier settlement offers requiring general releases and nondisclosure agreements and so was properly awarded her attorney fees under the Song-Beverly Warranty Act after agreeing to a settlement lacking those provisions.  Read More

In ruling on a motion for attorney fees under the Lanham Act, the district court is free to exercise its discretion in examining the totality of the circumstances to decide if the case is exceptional, including whether the suit or prelitigation conduct was frivolous, ill-motivated or objectively unreasonable.  Read More

A corporation and its lawyer behaved unethically in answering a city’s validation action when both knew the corporation was suspended for non-payment of state taxes; hence, they were properly denied a private attorney general fee award despite prevailing in the action.  Read More

Trial court did not abuse its discretion in requiring appellant to bear third parties’ entire attorney fees in interpleader actions triggered by respondent’s enforcement of judgment while appeal was pending as appellant could have avoided these costs by posting an appeal bond.   Read More

In fee-sharing cases under the “common fund” or “common benefit” theories of fee awards, the court may properly assess the fee as a percentage of the common recovery, even though the “hours times hourly rate plus multiplier” approach has been adopted as the sole way to calculate fees under fee-shifting contract or statutory provisions.  Read More

Tenant was the prevailing party, entitled to an attorney fee award under LA’s Rent Escrow Account Program, when the landlord voluntarily dismissed an unlawful detainer action to recover possession of property that was subject to the Program.  Read More

The trial court violated a class action defendant’s due process rights by awarding plaintiffs' attorneys fees based on their time records which the court reviewed in camera and refused to let the defendant see.  Read More

Although plaintiff recovered only $6,600 of the $20,000 it sought against defendant, the trial court could reasonably find that plaintiff had met more of its litigation objectives than defendant had, and therefore plaintiff could be considered the prevailing party entitled to an attorney fee award under CC 5957.  Read More

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