Plaintiff and defendant each preyed upon the elderly mentally incompetent owners or spouses of owners of music copyrights and royalty streams from those copyrights. Plaintiff secured a $672,000 arbitration award against defendant which was confirmed by the trial court but ultimately overturned on appeal. Defendant did not post an appeal bond, so while the appeal was pending, plaintiff enforced the judgment against royalty payors who filed interpleader actions and were awarded $238,000 which was deducted from the interpleaded funds. After reversal of the arbitration award, all the remaining interpleaded funds were paid to defendant, who thus ended up paying all of the attorney fees awarded the intervenor. On this appeal from denial of defendant’s motion to allocate some of those fees to plaintiff, the appellate court holds that the trial court did not abuse its discretion. Plaintiff had a colorable claim to the money when it sought to enforce its judgment pending the appeal. Defendant could have avoided incurring the attorney fees by paying the judgment or posting an appeal bond. The trial court could reasonably have concluded that defendant was the party that caused the interpleader actions to be filed and should bear their expense.
California Court of Appeal, Second District, Division 1 (Chaney, Acting P.J.); September 29, 2016; 2016 WL 5462093