Tenant’s suit for breach of the warranty of habitability and constructive eviction was an action on the lease contract sufficient to allow the tenant to recover fees under Civil Code 1717 when the tenant prevailed at trial.  The tenant did not elect tort recovery on those claims merely because he recovered emotional distress damages, as his complaint also alleged tort claims and he recovered judgment on those claims as well.  The fact that the lease’s one-sided attorney fee clauses were narrowly drafted to allow fees to be recovered only for particular sorts of breaches of the lease did not prevent fee recovery by the tenant since section 1717 requires any fee clause to be deemed applicable to the entire contract.  Entry of an amended judgment that merely adds costs, attorney fees or prejudgment interest to the original judgment does not restart the time to appeal from the original judgment, although an otherwise timely notice of appeal from the amended judgment is sufficient to challenge the added costs, fees or interest.

California Court of Appeal, First District, Division 2 (Richman, J.); September 9, 2016 (published October 5, 2016); 2016 WL 5815768