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Attorneys' Fees and Costs

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In Enriquez v. Sirius XM Radio, Inc., No. 1:21-CV-1240 AWI BAK, 2022 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 178999, at *13-14 (E.D. Cal. Sep. 30, 2022), Judge Ishii remanded a UCL public injunctive relief claim for lack of sufficient monetary controversy to support removal jurisdiction. Much of SXM's argument depends on valuing the injunction from its perspective, i.e. the cost of complying with… Read More

The California Supreme Court today ruled on whether the FTC Holder Rule caps the amount fees that a prevailing consumer can recover from the holder of a Retail Installment Sales Contract that contains the FTC's "Holder Rule" language in the RISC.  A copy of the Supreme Court's decision in Pulliam v. TD Auto Finance can be found here. Read More

It’s a bit convoluted, but in Mikki v. Lifemark Grp., No. D076885, 2021 Cal. App. Unpub. LEXIS 309 (Jan. 20, 2021), the Court of Appeal, in an unpublished opinion, denied any attorneys’ fees to a CLRA Plaintiff.  The facts were as follows: Mikki's operative complaint sought solely injunctive relief under the CLRA. After accepting Lifemark's Code of Civil Procedure section… Read More

In Spikener v. Ally Financial, Inc. , the Court of Appeal deferred to the FTC's 2019 interpretation of the FTC Holder Rule, holding that the Holder Rule limits recovery, including attorneys' fees, against the holder to the amount that the debtor paid under the assigned contract.  Civil Code 1459.5, which was enacted post-Lafferty to allow a debtor to recover uncapped attorneys'… Read More

Interpreting eleven (11) declarations from attorneys' on both sides of the FDCPA bar, Magistrate Judge Beeler reduced the rates sought by the Plaintiff's counsel in an FDCPA case in Bidwal v. Unifund Ccr, No. 3:17-cv-02699-LB, 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 147004, at *17-23 (N.D. Cal. Aug. 27, 2019).  The facts and outcome were summarized by the Court. The plaintiff defaulted on… Read More

In Cavalry SPV I, LLC v. Watkins, No. D072299, 2019 Cal. App. LEXIS 603, at *12-15 (Ct. App. July 1, 2019), the California Court of Appeal addressed the evidence necessary to prove up a credit card debt in a debt collection action. Assuming without  deciding that California law applies, a party may accept a contract by conduct, as well as… Read More

In Duran v. Quantum Auto Sales, Inc., 2017 WL 6334220, at *5 (Cal.App. 4 Dist., 2017), the Court of Appeal held in an unpublished decision held that the FTC Holder Rule does not limit attorneys' fees but the Plaintiff's recovery against the Holder is limited to those fees/costs that resulted from litigation of claims against it. We therefore turn to Veros's alternative… Read More

In Medina v. South Coast Car Company, 2017 WL 4128076, at *8 (Cal.App. 4 Dist., 2017), the Court of Appeal held that a settlement agreement entitling Plaintiff to attorneys' fees was not capped by the FTC Holder Rule. In light of the Settlement and section 5, which, the parties agreed, made Medina the “prevailing party,” it is clear from the plain… Read More

In Clayton v. Ford Motor Company, 2017 WL 2859628 (4th Dist., Div. 2 2017) (unpublished), the California Court of Appeal affirmed the trial court's cut of a consumer's attorney fee request in a Song-Beverly case, finding that the trial court properly set the consumer lawyers' rate at $275/hour and reduced the fee claim for work done on matters for which… Read More

In Goglin v. BMW of North America, LLC, 2016 WL 6135482, at *5–6 (Cal.App. 4 Dist., 2016), the Court of Appeal held that a so-called Benson response to a CLRA letter does not immunize an auto dealer/manufacturer from attorneys' fees incurred to prosecute a claim under the Song-Beverly Act. Both BMW North America and BMW San Diego contend Goglin is… Read More

In In re Penrod, --- F.3d ---- (2015), the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit found that the debtor who prevailed in the “hanging-paragraph” litigation was entitled to attorneys’ fees under Civil Code § 1717. AmeriCredit does not contest that the contract contains a unilateral attorney’s fees provision for purposes of the second condition. Nor does it contest that… Read More

In Benson v. Southern California Auto Sales, Inc., 2015 WL 5047611 (Cal.App. 4 Dist., 2015), the California Court of Appeal found that a car dealer who lost at trial nevertheless was not responsible for $171k in attorneys' fees incurred by Plaintiff because the dealer had offered full relief in response to the 30-day CLRA letter at the inception of the… Read More

In Mega RV Corporation v. HWH Corporation, 2014 WL 1691371 (Cal.App. 4 Dist. 2014), here, the California Court of Appeal held that the Song Beverly Act does not apply to component part manufactures unless they gave an express warranty.    Civ. Code section 1792, part of the Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act, provides that every retail sale of consumer goods is accompanied… Read More

In In re: Portfolio Recovery Associates, LLC, Telephone Consumer Protection Act Litigation, here, Judge Houston held that the Plaintiff had adequately pleaded vicarious liability under the TCPA, and refused, at the pleadings stage, to strike Plaintiff’s prayer to recovery attorneys’ fees under the TCPA to the extent permitted by Code of Civil Procedure § 1021.5. In opposition, plaintiffs contend their… Read More

In In re Penrod, 2013 WL 1962338 (N.D.Cal. 2013), Judge Gonzalez-Rogers held that the debtor was not entitled to her attorneys’ fees incurred in this protracted litigation because recovery of fees derived purely from state law, which, the bankruptcy court had determined did not afford a right to attorneys’ fees. Penrod’s tortured procedural history was summarized as follows: Ultimately the bankruptcy… Read More

In Fitzgerald v. Law Office of Curtis O. Barnes, 2013 WL 1627740 (E.D.Cal. 2013), Judge Austin rejected application of the Laffey Matrix or Consumer Law Attorney Fee Survey Report as a basis to compute a fee rate under the FDCPA. In support of the requested hourly rates for counsel, Plaintiff adduces the United States Consumer Law Attorney Fee Survey Report… Read More

In Hardison v. Kia Motors America, Inc., --- S.E.2d ----, 2013 WL 1110674 (N.C.App. 2013), the Court of Appeals reversed the trial court’s order of attorneys’ fees in a lemon law case where the manufacturer had done the right thing once it learned of the lemon law claim.  Defendant also contends the trial court erred in awarding plaintiffs attorney's fees… Read More

In Arutyunyan v. Cavalry Portfolio Services, 2013 WL 500452 (C.D.Cal. 2013), Judge Gutierrez found that Plaintiff’s counsel’s pleadings did not arise to the level of misconduct that would allow an award of reverse attorneys’ fees under FCRA and the FDCPA, but did under other federal law. Under FCRA, the Court explained: As a threshold matter, § 1681n(c) imposes attorneys' fees… Read More

In Balikian v. Ally Financial, Inc., 2012 WL 5518853 (C.D.Cal. 2012), Judge Wu catalogued the well document history of a FCRA plaintiff’s lawyer in the Central District for filing FCRA complaints. Plaintiff's counsel, Arshak Bartoumian, has a recent and well-documented history of failing to oppose pending motions, failing to appear at hearings, filing last-minute motions for leave to amend on… Read More

In Sands & Associates v. Julnavorian (2012) 2012 DAR 13972, the California Court of Appeal held that A law firm that is the prevailing party in a lawsuit may not recover fees of its "of counsel" lawyer which represented the firm.  Of counsel lawyers are so closely tied to the law firm that the rule barring fee awards to pro se… Read More

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