David J. McMahon

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David McMahon is the Managing Partner in Barger & Wolen LLP’s San Francisco office. His practice focuses on large complex litigation. He has worked on numerous high-profile litigation matters involving life settlements, multi-million dollar insurance coverage disputes relating to intellectual property matters, wage and hour litigation, environmental claims, directors and officers liability insurance, maritime matters, and cases involving alleged insurer bad faith.
His expertise also includes international marine transactional work with experience in negotiating shipbuilding contracts. He also has experience in appellate litigation, reinsurance litigation and counseling clients on attorney fee disputes and ethical issues relating to the practice of law.
Mr. McMahon has extensive experience in matters relating to computer-related discovery, large case document management, and the efficient use of technology to streamline the handling of large cases.
He is a co-editor of the firm’s Litigation Management & Attorney Fee Analysis blog, and a California State Chair for the Council on Litigation Management.


Articles By This Author

Fee award against non-party attorney is thrown out by appellate court

In Suarez v. City of Corona, 2014 DJDAR 12101, the California Court of Appeal for the Fourth Appellate District decided an interesting case concerning the interpretation of California Code of Civil Procedure Section 1038. That statute provides a statutory ground for a public entity to recover attorney fees for “frivolous” litigation brought against a municipality.

The plaintiff was a passenger in a motor vehicle. The vehicle exploded while filling up at a fueling station operated by the City of Corona (the City). The plaintiff sued the City, contending that the filling station and its equipment was defective. However, discovery revealed that the vehicle being “filled up” at the station had defective tanks which caused the explosion. The evidence supported the conclusion that there were no gas leaks at the filling station. The City repeatedly demanded to be dismissed but the plaintiff refused.

Significant defense costs were incurred after the dismissal demands were made by the City. The City moved for summary judgment, arguing that the lawsuit was “frivolous” within the meaning of Code of Civil Procedure Section 1038. That statute provides a remedy for a city to obtain a fee award for unmeritorious (i.e. frivolous) litigation.

The trial court awarded the City $135,905.00 in fees which were assessed jointly against the plaintiff and his attorneys. The plaintiff appealed, arguing that Section 1038 did not authorize an award of fees against a “non‑party attorney.”

The court of appeal agreed and reversed the award. The court noted that in proceedings that are not brought in good faith and with reasonable cause, it “shall render judgment” in favor of the prevailing party. Although Section 1038 was silent as to whom the award of defense costs may run against, the court concluded that a “judgment” cannot lie against an attorney who is not a “party” to the action.

Is an independent lawsuit required to fix amount of attorney's fee lien?

In Mojtahedi v. Vargas the California Court of Appeal for the Second Appellate District decided a unique issue pertaining to the procedure for enforcing an attorney fees lien against the attorney who is hired to replace the original counsel.

A lawyer represented two plaintiffs in a personal injury matter. After many months of representation, the plaintiffs hired new counsel and discharged the first lawyer. The new attorney settled the case and deposited the settlement checks into his client trust account. Each check was made out to the plaintiffs and to the current and former lawyers’ respective law offices.

The former lawyer then brought a lawsuit against the current lawyer and the two banks that issued the settlement checks. The lawsuit sought payment of the fees the first attorney claimed were the subject of his attorney fees lien.

The trial court sustained the current lawyer’s demurrer to the first lawyer’s complaint without leave to amend. The court held that the former lawyer failed to establish the amount of the attorney fees lien in an independent action against his former client. The court concluded that the new lawsuit fixing the sum of the lien was a prerequisite to seeking to enforce the fee claim. Without the necessary adjudication there was no way of knowing what portion of the fees was legitimately owed to the first lawyer.

The court of appeal affirmed the decision of the lower court. The court noted that an attorney’s lien is only created by a retainer agreement which includes an express provision creating the lien for unpaid fees. However, to enforce the lien, the attorney must bring an independent action against the former client to establish the existence of the lien and its amount.

Here, the court held that records of the time expended were not sufficient to establish that the first lawyer was entitled to a specific amount of the settlement money. Based on this reasoning, the court concluded that the demurrer was properly sustained without leave to amend.

 

Court decides when statute of limitations for "wrongful act or omission" against counsel begins

In Lee v. Hanley the California Court of Appeal for the Fourth District decided an issue concerning the interpretation of the one‑year statute of limitations relating to allegations of wrongdoing in the performance of attorney services.

The plaintiff hired an attorney to represent her in a civil lawsuit. The case settled shortly after the case was filed. The attorney sent the plaintiff invoices for legal services. The plaintiff demanded a refund, claiming that she had advanced unearned attorney fees to counsel. The plaintiff did not receive a refund. The plaintiff hired new counsel and terminated the first lawyer.

More than a year after she fired her first lawyer, the plaintiff sued attorney number one for the return of the alleged unearned attorney fees.

The attorney responded to the complaint by filing a demurrer based on the one‑year statute of limitations encompassed by Code of Civil Procedure Section 340.6. The statute sets forth a statute of limitations against attorneys based on a “wrongful act or omission, other than for actual fraud, arising in the performance of professional services.” The trial court granted the demurrer without leave to amend and dismissed the plaintiff’s case with prejudice.

The court of appeal reversed the decision of the lower court. The court of appeal noted that under Section 340.6, a lawsuit against an attorney for a wrongful act or omission based on his or her professional services must be filed within one year after the client “discovers the facts” alleging the misconduct. Here, the plaintiff argued that the attorney finished his legal work when the litigation he handled was resolved. The plaintiff argued that counsel’s act of keeping the unearned fees was not part of the professional services rendered and extended the time for bringing a lawsuit.

The court of appeal agreed with the plaintiff’s argument. The court of appeal concluded that Section 340.6 was not applicable as the allegations of the complaint could be construed as a claim unrelated to the performance of legal services, i.e. the retention of unearned attorney fees. The court reversed the lower court’s decision on this basis.

Timing of judgment creditor's entitled fee petition key to enforcement

In Conservatorship of McQueen the California Supreme Court decided a unique issue concerning the interpretation of Code of Civil Procedure Section 685.040. Under that statute, a judgment creditor is entitled to the reasonable and necessary costs of enforcing a judgment, including statutory attorney fees. A petition to claim enforcement costs must, however, be made before a judgment is “fully satisfied.”

The plaintiff had physical and mental disabilities. A testamentary trust was established for her, giving her the right to live in a home and to receive the net income from a trust for her lifetime. Subsequently, the trustee of the trust sold the residence, without the plaintiff’s consent, arguably in violation of the terms of the trust. The family attorney then distributed the proceeds of the sale, but failed to distribute any money to the plaintiff. A conservator was then appointed for the estate, who filed suit against the lawyer who made the distribution. A jury found the lawyer liable for financial elder abuse, breach of fiduciary duty and conversion. A judgment was entered on that basis against the lawyer.

The trial court also ordered the lawyer to pay $300,000 in attorney fees and costs. The conservator then filed a second suit against the lawyer, alleging a cause of action for fraudulent transfer, to avoid paying the judgment. The conservator later agreed to dismiss the fraudulent transfer action in consideration of payment of amounts sufficient to fund the underlying judgment.

The conservator filed a petition for fees and costs incurred in the second fraudulent transfer action. The trial court granted the conservator’s motion and awarded fees, and the lawyer then appealed that decision.

The Court of Appeal reversed the judgment of the lower court granting attorney fees. The court of appeal noted that under Code of Civil Procedure Section 685.040, a judgment creditor is entitled to the costs incurred in enforcing a judgment. These costs may include reasonable attorney fees. However, the court of appeal noted that a motion for enforcement costs must be made before the judgment is satisfied. Here, because the lawyer had satisfied the original judgment by payment, the court of appeal ruled that the conservator’s fee petition should have been denied.

 

Trial Court's Calculation of Lodestar Is Affirmed

By David McMahon and Mark Chuang

In Syers Properties III, Inc. v. Rankin the California Court of Appeal for the First Appellate District affirmed the trial court’s grant of an award of attorney fees. The appellant contended that the trial court should not have awarded attorney fees for two reasons: (1) the court relied upon inadequate documentation in determining the reasonableness of the number of hours billed, and (2) the court’s calculation of the reasonable rate was incorrect.

Two attorneys represented a company in a complex construction defect case. The company subsequently sued counsel alleging legal malpractice. The attorneys moved for nonsuit on the first day of trial, and after the trial court granted the motion, the attorneys sought to recover attorney fees as the prevailing parties under California Civil Code Section 1717. In support of the recovery, the attorneys submitted declarations from attorneys who performed work on the case. The trial court granted the motion finding that the rates and hours requested were reasonable.

The court of appeal affirmed the trial court’s ruling holding that “the lodestar is the basic fee for comparable legal services in the community and that it may be adjusted by the court . . . to fix a fee at the fair market value.” It also stated that the trial judge is best able to evaluate whether the hours billed were reasonable given the complexity of the case.

The court of appeal rejected the appellant’s argument that the reasonable market rate is required to mirror the actual rate billed. It stated that the trial court was not required to adopt the market rate as the actual rate, but has discretion in determining what a reasonable attorney fee would be based on the evidence presented.

Mark Chuang is a summer associate in Barger & Wolen’s San Francisco office.

Reasonable attorney fees did not include underlying administrative hearing process against Social Services, court determines

In K.I. v. Wagner, 2014 DJDAR 5546 (2014), the California Court of Appeal for the Fourth Appellate District granted partial attorney fees in a social security proceeding. An attorney represented a minor who was disabled by autism and seizures. The representation was done on a pro bono basis. The goal was to obtain approval for an increase in the hours the minor could receive for in‑house medical and mental health support.

After an administrative hearing, the Director of Social Services declined the request for increased support. The minor challenged the declination of benefits through a petition for writ of mandate to the superior court.

After the appeal to the superior court, the parties entered into a stipulated judgment in favor of the minor. Counsel then moved for fees under Welfare and Institutions Code Section 10962. The fee request was partially for work on the writ and also for work related to the underlying administrative hearing. The trial court concluded that Section 10962 precluded an award of fees for the underlying administrative proceeding.

The minor appealed the declination of fees to the court of appeal. The court of appeal noted that an individual who is denied state or local social services may challenge the denial through an administrative hearing process administered by the state Director of Social Services. If the party receives an unfavorable administrative decision, the exclusive remedy thereafter is to challenge the ruling through a petition for writ of mandate.

Section 10962 governs the judicial review process and provides for reasonable attorney fees to a prevailing party involving litigation in the superior court. Although Section 10962 allows a party to recover reasonable attorney fees for the writ proceedings, it does not provide for an award of fees in the underlying administrative hearing process. The court of appeal affirmed the trial court’s rulings on that basis.

Settlement Agreement Silent On "Costs" Leads To Prevailing Party Award

In deSaulles v. Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula, 2014 DJDAR 5571 (2014), the California Court of Appeal for the Sixth Appellate District decided that a prevailing party was entitled to costs, despite the fact that the controlling settlement agreement was silent on that point.

The plaintiff sued her employer, asserting numerous causes of action. The first cause of action included a claim that the employer did not accommodate the employee’s disability. The employer moved for summary adjudication of that claim and prevailed. The victory effectively precluded the employee from presenting evidence related to additional causes of action for retaliation, wrongful termination and emotional distress.

The parties then agreed to settle the remaining claims in exchange for a payment of approximately $23,000. The settlement agreement was silent on the issue of recoverable costs. Both sides then requested mandatory costs as the “prevailing party” under Code of Civil Procedure Section 1032. The trial court granted the employer’s request, awarding over $11,000 in costs.

The employee appealed and the Sixth District reversed the trial court. The court of appeal noted that Section 1032 entitles a “prevailing party,” as a matter of right, to recover costs. For purposes of the statute, a “prevailing party” includes the party with a net monetary recovery. 

The court of appeal reasoned that although the employer obtained a judgment denying the employee relief, the judgment was reached following a settlement payment to the employee. The court considered that payment a “net monetary recovery” and concluded that the trial court should have awarded the employee her costs.

 

Is the Claimant entitled to attorney fees when the government asserts an unreasonable position?

In Tobeler v. Colvin, 2014 DJDAR 4845 (2014), the United States Court of Appeal for the Ninth Circuit overturned the trial court’s decision rejecting a claim for attorney fees.

The claimant was disabled and asserted a claim for social security benefits. He testified about his condition to a social security administrative law judge (ALJ). 

At the hearing, the claimant’s former employer also submitted a letter describing the claimant’s inability to work. In addition, the claimant’s wife, Kimberli Tobeler, submitted statements supporting the claimant’s problems with depression and anxiety. 

The ALJ disregarded the evidence submitted, without comment. Due to the ALJ’s failure to consider the relevant evidence, the case was then remanded by the district court. The claimant then sought attorney fees under the Equal Access to Justice Act (EAJA). The district court denied the motion for fees. The district court reasoned that the government’s position was “substantially justified” because the claimant failed to prevail on any other issues of law or fact.

The Ninth Circuit reversed the decision of the trial court. 

Under the EAJA, a court must award a prevailing party fees in a suit against the United States. The major exception to a fee award is if the court concluded the government’s position was “substantially justified.” Substantial justification is defined as a reasonable basis in fact and law. 

Here, the underlying agency action was not reasonable because the ALJ disregarded the evidence documenting the claimant’s symptoms without comment. This was improper as the evidence was relevant to a finding of disability. Because the government’s position was not substantially justified, the claimant was entitled to an award of fees under the EAJA.

U.S. Supreme Court Rules on Attorneys Fees in Two Patent Cases

Attorney’s fees were the subjects of two U.S. Supreme Court decisions today in high profile patent cases. In Octane Fitness v. Icon Health and Highmark v. Allcare Health, the Court decided in "exceptional cases" reasonable attorneys fees may be awarded to a prevailing party.

Interestingly, the Court leaves it to the trial court to define which cases are exceptional. This is to be done in the court's exercise of its discretion on a case-by-case basis. This is a dramatic change. The prior standard used in these types of matters required a finding of "subjective bad faith" and/or "objectively baseless" conduct. 

Those standards were very high; making the circumstances where a fee award was granted to be rare.  The policy surrounding this decision appears to deter parties who have abused the patent system for their own financial gain.

Attorney Litigants May Not Recover Attorney Fees When They Represent Themselves

In Soni v. Wellmike Enterprise Co. Ltd., 2014 DJDAR 3828 (2014), the California Court of Appeal for the Second Appellate District affirmed a well established principle under California law. Law firms and attorney litigants may not recover attorney fees when they represent themselves in litigation.

A law firm performed legal services for a business. The firm brought an action for breach of contract due to the non‑payment of attorney fees. The firm prevailed and then sought over $100,000 in legal fees incurred in the breach of contract action.

The firm acknowledged that an attorney who is self‑represented is generally not entitled to recover attorney fees, but argued that it did not represent itself in the litigation. The firm argued that it hired “outside counsel” or “independent contractors” to represent them in the suit to recover attorney fees. The defendant countered that the attorneys who worked on the unpaid fees case were employees of the firm and that attorney fees were not recoverable under well established case law.

The court of appeal affirmed, noting that law firms and attorney litigants may not recover attorney fees when they represent themselves. Thus, when members of a firm represent the firm in a case, no recovery of attorney fees is permitted.

 

Older Entries

April 23, 2014 — Technical Rejection of Fee Claim Is Overruled By Court of Appeal

April 16, 2014 — Attorney fees properly discharged under bankruptcy law in family law matter

April 15, 2014 — Trial Court Fails To Adequately Explain Basis for Cuts. Reduction in Fee Award Reversed.

March 11, 2014 — Can lawyers contractually agree to preclude a court from reviewing an arbitration award?

March 10, 2014 — Are "pro hac vice" counsel entitled to recover costs?

March 5, 2014 — Third Party is Liable For Attorney Fees to Party Damaged by Fraudulent Conveyance

March 3, 2014 — Attorney Fees Are Not Proper Where Plaintiff Dismisses Claims for Unlawful Debt Collection Practices

February 11, 2014 — Standing in the shoes of a third party? Plan to pay the attorney fees.

February 10, 2014 — Plaintiff Entitled To Appeal Fee Award Despite Bankruptcy Court Plan Confirmation

January 17, 2014 — Contract dispute leads to award of attorney fees

January 16, 2014 — A technical variance in a "998 offer" can preclude an award of costs

January 13, 2014 — Attorney Fees Are Properly Granted Where School District Improperly Withholds Documents

January 10, 2014 — "Prevailing party" is not limited to successful litigants. Attorney fees awarded in settlement.

January 8, 2014 — Victory on Permit Conditions Does Not Justify Fee Award

January 6, 2014 — Sanctions for Retaining Non Admitted Co Counsel Are Not Proper

December 23, 2013 — Barger & Wolen Partners Author "Insurance Practices and Coverage in Liability Defense"

October 24, 2013 — Legitimate "Newco" Is Entitled To Partial Fee Award

October 22, 2013 — Employee's Retention of Separate Counsel in Radio Station Prank Death Suit Ruled Unnecessary -- Fee Claim Rejected

September 24, 2013 — Mandatory arbitration costs are properly assessed to law firm

September 6, 2013 — Attorney Fees Are Not Justified To State Bar

September 3, 2013 — Prevailing Party in Arbitration is Entitled to Post-Award, Prejudgment Interest Under Nevada Law

August 21, 2013 — Anti-SLAPP "protected activities" include filing of unlawful detainer actions

August 19, 2013 — Attorney fees only awarded to developers of affordable housing projects

August 13, 2013 — Fee Caps Do Not Apply to Prisoners Defending Judgment on Appeal

August 12, 2013 — The Evolution of Technology in Litigation Document Discovery

August 5, 2013 — Pre-Arbitration Award of Attorney Fees Reversed

July 25, 2013 — Litigation: Using Billing Surveys To Determine "Reasonable" Rates

July 19, 2013 — Courts Must Show Their Work When Calculating Attorney Fee

July 15, 2013 — Insured Has Right to Select Independent Counsel

June 28, 2013 — Expert Fees Properly Awarded Under Offer of Judgment

June 27, 2013 — A prerequisite to the recovery of fees: How "reasonable and necessary" are your charges?

June 17, 2013 — Will the protracted litigation between tobacco manufactures and the State of California finally be coming to an end?

June 14, 2013 — Civil Rights Act Violations Entitles Non Profit Group to Fee Award

June 7, 2013 — Unsuccessful Litigant Still Wins Fees Under Vaccine Injury Act

May 28, 2013 — HP Inkjet Printer Litigation: Fee Award Fails to Comply With Provisions of the Class Action Fairness Act

May 28, 2013 — Court Interprets Settlement Agreement to Allow For Fee Recovery

May 22, 2013 — Five-Day Extension For Mailing Applies To Deadline To File Timely Cost Bill

May 20, 2013 — Defense Cost Analysis in Complex Environmental Fee Claims

May 15, 2013 — Last Minute Amendment By Counsel To Augment Fee Claim Rejected By Court

May 14, 2013 — Sanctions Are Issued Where Court Determines That Special Motion To Strike Was Filed For Improper Purpose

March 26, 2013 — Recorded Witness Statements Subject to Qualified Work Product Protection

March 7, 2013 — Startups - Deferred Payment Models for Legal Fees

March 5, 2013 — Hiring Legal Counsel & Initial Litigation Management for Startups

March 4, 2013 — Judicial Economy Implications: Ninth Circuit Sends District Judges Back To School On Calculation Of Attorney Fee Awards

February 20, 2013 — Is It Prejudgment Or Postjudgment Interest? The Conclusion Can Make A Difference

February 13, 2013 — Property Owners Are Entitled To Fee Award Arising From Invalid Claims Made By Homeowners Association

February 11, 2013 — Prevailing Party Attorney Fee Award Is Granted Based On Successful Affirmative Defense Raised In Answer

February 1, 2013 — Attorney Fee Award to Debtor Is Affirmed Where Creditor's "Reasonable Reliance" Claims Have No Merit

January 22, 2013 — Trial Court Abuses Its Discretion by Forcing Insurer to Bear the Cost of Giving Notice to Putative Class Members

January 14, 2013 — Store Owner Entitled to Attorney Fee Award for Successful Defense of Disabled Persons Act Claim

December 12, 2012 — The Lack Of An Enforceable Contract Does Not Require Denial Of Attorney Fees Claim

December 5, 2012 — Offset Required For Attorney Fee Award In Social Security Case

December 4, 2012 — County Counsel Is Eligible to Recover "Costs" But Not "Attorney Fees" In Bail Bond Forfeiture Matter

November 5, 2012 — "Cy Pres" Award to Charity From Class Action Settlement Was Improper

November 2, 2012 — Prevailing Employer Is Entitled To Fee Award

October 31, 2012 — Environmental Group Is Denied Fee Award Even Where It Successfully Challenged Agency Decision

October 30, 2012 — Fee Award Is Proper for Tenant Who Defeats Landlord's Fraud Claim

October 29, 2012 — Magistrate Judge Abuses Discretion by Applying "De Facto" Cap for Attorney Fee Award

October 17, 2012 — Employer Is Not Entitled To A Fee Award In Case Alleging Unpaid Wages

September 25, 2012 — Waiver Of Attorney Fees Contained In Residency Agreement Is Contrary To Public Policy

September 24, 2012 — Fee Award to Insurance Defense Firm May Be at Augmented Rates

September 18, 2012 — Written Fee Agreement Is Not Required For Ordinary Probate Work

September 6, 2012 — Waiver of Agreement to Arbitrate Requires Denial of Petition to Compel Arbitration

August 31, 2012 — Disputed Legal Authority Requires Reversal of Sanctions Award

August 30, 2012 — Public Entity Litigants Are Entitled to Attorney Fee Award Under Private Attorney General Doctrine Even Where Non Financial Interests Are In Play

August 23, 2012 — Ethical Conflicts Dooms Fee Claim in a Major Antitrust Class Action

August 15, 2012 — Private Dispute Under the "Unclaimed Property" Law Does Not Justify an Award of Attorney Fees

July 23, 2012 — Attorney Fees Incurred to Defend the Bankruptcy Court's Stay Violation Order are Subject to Recovery

July 20, 2012 — The JOBS Act & Crowdfunding - Is It For You?

July 20, 2012 — Attorney Member of Public Interest Organization Properly Awarded Attorney Fees

July 13, 2012 — Hiring a Lawyer for Your Startup - Big Firm or Small Firm?

July 5, 2012 — Tips for Selecting an Attorney

July 3, 2012 — Failure to Engage in Mandatory Contractual Mediation Bars Fee Claim

June 22, 2012 — Qualitative Legal Audit: What We Do in a Typical Analysis of Fees

June 18, 2012 — We May Need a Lawyer for That - Typical Legal Needs for a Startup

June 8, 2012 — Date of Accrual of Interest on Attorney Fee Award Is Not Necessarily from the Date of the Original Judgment

June 6, 2012 — There Can Only Be One Prevailing Party Under Civil Code Section 1717

June 5, 2012 — Justices Weigh Arguments on Stacking in Toxic Tort Cases

June 4, 2012 — I Enjoyed Lunch with My Attorney Until I Received a Bill for It!

May 21, 2012 — Attorney Fees Properly Awarded Where the Applicable Contract Authorizes An Award "In Any Dispute"

May 8, 2012 — Attorney Fees are Properly Awarded Under Prison Litigation Reform Act

May 7, 2012 — Chairperson of Insurance Board Denied Claim for Attorney Fees

May 4, 2012 — Attorney, Not the Client, is Entitled to Retain Attorney Fees in Wage and Overtime Litigation

May 1, 2012 — For Better or For Worse, Court Finds Joint 998 Offer To Husband and Wife Sufficient Basis For Expert Witness Fees and Costs Award

April 26, 2012 — District Court Doesn't 'Like' Facebook In Fee Award Decision

April 18, 2012 — FEHA-Related Fee Claims Must Be Based on a Finding that the Claim is Actually Frivolous

April 17, 2012 — Court Invalidates Fee Award Premised on Financial Ramifications on Non-Prevailing Party

April 6, 2012 — Plaintiff Wins Expert Costs and Attorney Fees Pursuant to Code of Civil Procedure Section 998(D)

March 20, 2012 — Earliest Reasonable Offer Governs Cost Recovery Under Code of Civil Procedure Section 998

March 19, 2012 — Nonpayment of Arbitration Fees Dooms Arbitral Award

March 8, 2012 — Court is Entitled to Render Equitable Apportionment of Attorney Fees in Partition Action

February 28, 2012 — Counsel's Mistaken Decision Constituted Good Cause to Extend the Deadline for Filing of a Fee Petition

February 9, 2012 — Fee Award Rendered Against Prisoner for Maintaining Frivolous Litigation is Not Subject to Discharge Under the Federal Bankruptcy Code

January 31, 2012 — California Civil Code Section 1717 Provides for Mutuality of Remedy in Favor of a Third Party Beneficiary

January 18, 2012 — Party Who Pursues Litigation to Enforce CC&Rs Needs to "Get Ducks in a Row" Prior to Suing

January 17, 2012 — "Of Counsel" Title Does Not Automatically Bar Claim for Attorney Fees

January 12, 2012 — Finding of Implied Waiver of Fees Contained in Marital Settlement Agreement Trumps Fee Claims

December 13, 2011 — Legally Separate Cause of Action Supports a Fee Award Under Civil Code Section 1717

November 29, 2011 — A Sanctions Attorney Fee Motion Requires a Finding of Frivolous Conduct for Justification

November 28, 2011 — Sanction Award is Improper Even if Defense Counsel Admitted to Violation of the Court Order

November 21, 2011 — Cost Shifting is Proper Where Defendant's Section 998 Offer Was Reasonable as a Matter of Law

November 21, 2011 — An Employer is Eligible to Recover Costs Under Labor Code Section 1194

November 4, 2011 — Untimely SLAPP Motion Does Not Support a Fee Award

November 2, 2011 — Court Properly Awards Contingency Attorney Fees as Restitution

October 31, 2011 — Ninth Circuit Rules That Attorney Fees are Properly Awarded Under Petroleum Marketing Practices Act

September 29, 2011 — Attorney Properly Rejects Attorney Fee Arbitration Award by Filing a Small Claims Action

September 28, 2011 — Attorney/Spouse Exception Allows Civil Rights Plaintiff to Obtain Fees

September 26, 2011 — Ninth Circuit Finds Insufficient Basis for Large Attorney Fee Award

August 3, 2011 — Settlement Offer Referencing Costs Includes Attorney Fees

August 2, 2011 — Family Law Judge Properly Grants Substantial Sanctions Against Party Whose Misconduct Increased Litigation Costs

July 27, 2011 — Retainer Agreement Prohibiting Settlement Without Attorney Consent Violates Public Policy

July 26, 2011 — Pro Per Plaintiffs Who are Attorneys are Not Eligible for Fee Award

July 22, 2011 — Trial Court Abuses Its Discretion in Applying Negative Multiplier To Set Attorney Fees

July 11, 2011 — Minor Victories Do Not Support an Award of Fees Under California's Private Attorney General Doctrine

June 14, 2011 — Pro Se Attorney Litigants are Not Eligible for an Award of Attorney Fees

June 9, 2011 — Family Law Judge Has the Authority to Award "Just and Reasonable" Attorney Fees

June 2, 2011 — Attorney Fee Award is Reversed Where It is Rendered Without Proper Statutory Authorization

May 16, 2011 — Attorney Fee Award Overturned in Tobacco Litigation

May 13, 2011 — Court Ruling Taxing Appellate Costs is Subject to an Immediate Appeal

May 12, 2011 — Who is on the Hook for Costs in Paying Subpoenaed Peace Officers?

April 27, 2011 — Trial Court Improperly Grants an Award of Fees to Tenant Under Fair Housing Act

April 26, 2011 — Lower Court Properly Reinstates Arbitration Award Granting Fees

April 7, 2011 — 2860 Fee Arbitration is Denied Where Insurer is Not Currently Defending

March 28, 2011 — Private Attorney General Doctrine Authorizes Attorney Fees in a Political Dispute

March 24, 2011 — Costs for Translation Services are Properly Awarded to the Prevailing Party

March 23, 2011 — Fee Award is Overturned in Alleged Housing Discrimination Matter

March 18, 2011 — Claim Must be Frivolous to Support a Fee Award for Malicious Prosecution

February 10, 2011 — Breach of Fiduciary Duty by Spouse Results in Fee Award

February 9, 2011 — Breach of Fee Sharing Agreement Excuses Party from Contractual Obligations

February 2, 2011 — Court Has No Jurisdiction Over a Fee Claim Appeal When the Appellant Jumps the Gun

February 1, 2011 — Assignee May Pursue Claim for Indemnification for Unreimbursed Counsel Fees

January 31, 2011 — U. C. Regents Have Constitutional Immunity from Plaintiff's Attorney Fee Motion

December 21, 2010 — Failure To Satisfy Statutory Criteria Voids Contingency Fee Agreement

December 15, 2010 — Attorney Fee Award is Appropriate Based on Successful Forum Non Conveniens Motion

December 13, 2010 — Fee Award is Overturned Where Trial Court Failed to Consider the Question of Settlement Effort

December 10, 2010 — California Civil Code § 1717 is a Proper Basis for an Award of Attorney Fees Pursuant to a Performance Bond

November 4, 2010 — Anti-SLAPP Statute Does Not Authorize an Award of Attorney Fees Against Plaintiff's Counsel

November 3, 2010 — Party Must Be an Intended Beneficiary of the Contract to Invoke the Reciprocity Provision of Civil Code Section 1717

October 26, 2010 — Finding That an Anti-SLAPP Motion is Frivolous Justifies Fee Award

October 25, 2010 — Technical Construction of 'Actual Controversy' Requirement Under CCP § 1060 is Overturned in Dispute Over Fees

October 21, 2010 — Award of Attorney Fees is Improper Where Litigation Sought Renewal of Grazing Permits Rather than the Grant or Renewal of a License

October 20, 2010 — Disclosure of the Nature of Legal Practice and Representation is Required by Arbitrator in Fee Dispute Matter

September 30, 2010 — Fee Award Is Reversed Where Lower Court Failed To Consider Complexities Of Appellate Work

September 23, 2010 — Arbitrators Fee Award Based on Percentage of Property Value Conveyed in Settlement is Upheld

September 10, 2010 — Courts are Required to Award Attorney Fees to a Substantially Prevailing Party in Peer Review Lawsuits

September 3, 2010 — Injunctive Relief Related Fee Awards are Subject to Automatic Stay Pending Appeal

September 1, 2010 — Prevailing Defendant Entitled to Fee Award Unrelated To Claims Seeking Unpaid Wages

July 23, 2010 — In "Bet the Farm" Cases, Court Calls for Close Scrutiny of Reasonableness

July 22, 2010 — Action Against Landlord Under The Unfair Competition Statute Cannot Support Attorney Fee Award

July 20, 2010 — Award of Attorney Fees Under the Automobile Sale Finance Act Upheld by Court of Appeal

June 24, 2010 — Limitations on Attorney Fees Under Probate Code Section 17211

June 21, 2010 — Attorney Fees Awards Subject to Offset Litigants' Preexisting Debts to the U.S. Government

June 16, 2010 — Improper Involuntary Bankruptcy Petition Gives Rise to Award of Counsel Fees

June 16, 2010 — Fees Incurred for Monitoring Settlement Agreement Compliance are Recoverable Under 42 U.S.C. § 1988

June 16, 2010 — Unsatisfied Judgment Allows Prevailing Party to Recover Attorney Fees

May 26, 2010 — Non-Taxable Costs May Be Awarded Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act

May 25, 2010 — Interest Incurred on Borrowed Funds to Secure an Undertaking is Not Recoverable

April 9, 2010 — Private Attorney General Fees are Only Available in an Action Against the Opposing Party

April 9, 2010 — Discretion to Deny Costs and Attorney Fees to FEHA Plaintiffs Rests with the Trial Courts

April 1, 2010 — Court Decides Novel Issue Concerning Priority of a Contractual Lien for Legal Services

February 19, 2010 — Attorneys Fee Provision in California Disabled Persons Act Is Not Preempted by the ADA

February 16, 2010 — Plaintiffs Fail To Satisfy the "Prevailing Party" Standard

February 5, 2010 — Municipal Ordinance Permits Attorney Fee Award Only In Limited Proceedings

January 29, 2010 — Ninth Circuit Overturns Attorney Fee Award Against the Government

January 19, 2010 — Public Entity is Entitled to Hire Private Law Firm in Tax Assessment Proceedings

December 14, 2009 — Improper Claim Brought by Trust Beneficiaries Can be Remedied Through an Attorney Fee Award Rendered Under the Equitable Power of the Probate Court

December 10, 2009 — Appellate Court Concludes that Cost Shifting is Calculated from the Date of the Last Urevoked Offer of Judgment

November 16, 2009 — Award of Attorney's Fees is Proper for Successful Anti-Slapp Motion in Addition to Fee Claims Related to Malicious Prosecution Action

November 11, 2009 — Is a Court Allowed to Enhance a Fee Award Based on the Quality of Performance of Counsel?

November 9, 2009 — Ninth Circuit Rejects Exclusive Use of Lodestar Approach in Calculating Fees in Denial of Disability Insurance Benefits Matters

October 30, 2009 — Trial Court Must Make Findings Establishing A Reasonable Basis For Fee Award

October 26, 2009 — Foreign Court Order Ruled Unenforceable: Court Nullifies Award of Attorneys Fees

September 29, 2009 — Trial Court Errs In Refusing to Award Litigation Costs but Not Fees to Adverse Party

September 15, 2009 — Liability Insurance Carrier Only Required to Pay A Pro Rata Share of Fees Incurred In The Subrogated Recovery Context, Not The Entire Amount Under The "Made Whole" Doctrine

September 8, 2009 — Plaintiff Denied Attorney Fees Even Where He Prevailed on Appeal

August 21, 2009 — "Clear Sailing" Agreement Is Approved By Court In Consolidated Consumer Class Action Case

July 14, 2009 — Plaintiffs are "Prevailing Parties" Under California Code Of Civil Procedure § 1021.5 Where the Action Enforces an Important Public Right

July 10, 2009 — Ninth Circuit Overrules "Prevailing Party" Decision

June 24, 2009 — "Citizens for Better Forestry" Denied Fees Where Ninth Circuit Concludes Environmental Organization Was Not The "Prevailing Party"

June 17, 2009 — Attorney's Fees Award Against Counsel is Reversed for Lack of Statutory Authorization

June 11, 2009 — Trial Court's Expansive Ruling on Recovery of Counsel Fees is Upheld on Appeal

June 8, 2009 — Judge Makes Decision on the Necessity and Reasonableness of Fees And Costs In Lead Paint Toy Claims

June 2, 2009 — Court Abuses Discretion by Denying Award of Counsel Fees

May 18, 2009 — Litigant Is Not Entitled To Attorney Fees Where Insurer Disputes Request For Medical Treatment

April 30, 2009 — Clarification Whether A Party Is Required To FileA Proposed Judgment Together With A Memorandum Of Costs In A Voluntary Dismissal Scenario

April 16, 2009 — Helpful Tips to Ensure Compliance With Billing Guidelines

April 8, 2009 — The Basics for Preparing a Petition Seeking Attorneys' Fees

March 17, 2009 — Fee Shifting Statutes Under California Law

March 6, 2009 — Qualitative Versus Quantitative Audits: Two Different Approaches

March 2, 2009 — Conference for the Council on Litigation Management on March 12th and 13th, 2009

March 2, 2009 — Winterrowd v. American General Annuity Insurance Company

February 17, 2009 — Christian Research Institute v Alnor

January 15, 2009 — New Case Law Regarding Right to Cumis Fee Arbitration