The trial court abused its discretion in denying a prevailing plaintiff in a Song-Beverly Act case attorney fees incurred in the case after the defendant made its first settlement offer which did not comply with CCP 998.  A court cannot properly apply the CCP 998 sanction for failure to accept the settlement offer when the offer doesn’t comply with 998’s requirements.  Furthermore, in this case, the plaintiff eventually recovered twice as much as the defendant’s original offer.  After rejecting that initial offer and before eventually settling for twice as much, the plaintiff had every right to pursue a claim for an intentional violation and its accompanying penalties and so fees incurred in that effort are properly recoverable.

California Court of Appeal, Fourth District, Division 1 (O’Rourke, J.); December 6, 2018 (published December 27, 2018); 30 Cal. App. 5th 831