CCP 1021.9 provides that a prevailing plaintiff in an action for damages for trespass on land devoted to cultivation or raising livestock is entitled to an attorney fee award in addition to damages. This decision holds that to be entitled to the fee award, the plaintiff need not show that the defendant trespassed on or damaged the portion of the property that is devoted to cultivation. Also, here the lands were devoted to cultivation even if the plaintiff had not yet opened a planned nursery on the property since she had used the property for several years growing plants to create an inventory for the intended nursery business. The trial court did not abuse its discretion in not apportioning fees between the trespass claim on which plaintiff prevailed and several other claims on which she did not since all the claims were based on the same factual allegations and the jury was instructed to award plaintiff damages only once no matter how many causes of action on which it found in plaintiff’s favor. Also, despite a small damage award, the trial court did not abuse its discretion in not reducing plaintiff’s fee award since plaintiff had won important equitable relief enforcing her property rights against the defendant.
California Court of Appeal, Fourth District, Division 1 (Nares, Acting P.J.); December 19, 2018; 30 Cal. App. 5th 474