In Adoption of Joshua S. (2008) 42 Cal.4th 945, the Supreme Court carved only a narrow exception to the award of Private Attorney General fees under CCP 1021.5 for cases in which the non-prevailing party pursued only its own private interest and had no institutional interest in the legal principle established in the case and was not responsible, in whole or in part, for the practice or policy that gave rise to the litigation.  Here, the LA Times obtained production of an internal investigation report of the Pasadena police’s killing of an unarmed man over the opposition of the police officer’s union.  The union had an institutional interest in nondisclosure of the report and sued Pasadena specifically to restrict disclosure.  Hence, the union didn’t fit within the narrow Joshua S. exception.  The trial court erred in denying the Times an award of attorney fees against the union under CCP 1021.5.

California Court of Appeal, Second District, Division 1 (Johnson, J.); April 12, 2018; 2018 WL 1755528