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

LAW FIRM LOSES FEE CLAIM: TOTAL VICTORY TURNS INTO CRASHING LOSS

                 In David S. Karton, A Law Corporation, v. Dougherty, 2014 DJDAR 15340, the California Court of Appeal for the Second Appellate District decided a case with a long, convoluted complex fact pattern under California Code of Civil Procedure Section 1717, the prevailing party statute, and Section 1032, which governs cost awards.

The defendant retained David S. Karton, A Law Corporation, to represent him in a marital dissolution case. The attorney expended significant time and resources on the matter but the client did not pay for the services rendered. Three years later, the attorney sued the client to recover $65,247.00 in unpaid fees, costs and interest. The defendant failed to appear and the trial court entered a default judgment against the former client. The attorney then sought to enforce the judgment as well as attorney fees incurred in the divorce case. After further complex proceedings, the attorney was granted relief which actually increased the principal judgment. The former client then appealed the judgment rendered by the trial court.

The appellate court reversed the attorney fees award on the basis that the original default judgment was void because the judgment exceeded the attorney’s original demand. On remand, the trial court granted the former client’s motion to vacate the default. The matter then proceeded to arbitration under Business and Professions Code Section 6201, the mandatory attorney fees arbitration statute. The arbitration panel concluded that the former client had already paid his debt to the law firm and, on that basis, no relief was appropriate for the attorney.

The attorney then moved the case back to state court where the trial judge ruled that the law firm was the “prevailing party” under the definition of Civil Code Section 1717 and awarded it more than $1 million in attorney fees. The former client appealed yet again.

The court of appeal reversed, noting that under Section 1717, in the event of litigation on a contract, the party prevailing on the contract has a right to recover attorney fees. The prevailing party is the person who received a “greater level of relief” in the action on the contract. The court noted that under Section 1717(b)(2), if a defendant fully tenders a contractual debt, deposits it with the court and proves that this was the full debt, the defendant is the prevailing party for attorney fee purposes. Because the law firm recovered no relief in the action on the contract, the defendant was the  prevailing party.

Is a tenant is entitled to attorney fees when landlord's anti-SLAPP motion is denied?

In Ben‑Shahar v. Pickart, 2014 DJDAR 15712, the California Court of Appeal for the Second District decided a complex landlord/tenant case involving the interplay of unlawful detainer proceedings and California’s Special Motion to Strike under Code of Civil Procedure Section 426.16.

The defendant (“Pickart”) purchased a rent‑controlled apartment building. He then served the tenant with a 60‑day notice to vacate the premises. Pickart initiated unlawful detainer proceedings after the tenant refused to vacate the premises. The trial court granted the unlawful detainer petition and ordered the tenant to vacate. The parties then entered into an agreement to settle the unlawful detainment action.

The tenant agreed to vacate the unit and the landlord agreed to move in the unit within the time period specified under the local rent control ordinance. After the landlord failed to move in by the deadline, the tenant sued the landlord for breach of the settlement agreement.

The landlord filed an anti‑SLAPP motion, asserting that his conduct was protected as it was related to the unlawful detainer action. The trial court denied the landlord’s anti‑SLAPP motion and the tenant’s motion for attorney fees.

The court of appeal reversed, stating that the anti‑SLAPP statute allows the trial court to strike any cause of action that arises from the defendant’s exercise of the “right of petition” or “free speech.” However, the court of appeal noted that the record was clear that the tenant’s lawsuit was directed at the landlord’s purported breach of the settlement agreement and did not arise from the unlawful detainer action. 

The court of appeal remanded the matter to the trial court to make the required determination whether the tenant was entitled to fees and, if so, the amount of the recovery.

Court rules percentage based award is reasonable under California law - ignores federal precedent

In Laffitte v. Robert Half International Inc.,  2014 DJDAR 15575, the California Court of Appeal for the Second Appellate District decided an interesting attorney fee case arising from class action wage and hour litigation.

In 2001, a class plaintiff filed a wage and hour class action against Robert Half International Inc. (“Robert Half”) and related entities. After a number of years of intense litigation, all parties agreed to settle the case. Pursuant to the terms of the settlement, Robert Half agreed to pay a gross settlement amount of $19,000,000. The agreement further provided that class counsel would seek approval of not more than $6,333,333.33, or 33.33 percent of the $19,000,000 settlement.

Thereafter, the class representatives filed a motion for attorney fees, requesting $6,333,333.33 in fees for class counsel. One class member filed an objection to the application. The objector argued that the notice to the class members denied due process because the nature and timing of the settlement approval was unfair.

The objector also argued that, in reviewing the class counsel’s request for attorney fees, the trial court erred by using the “percentage of fund method” and that there were irregularities and mistakes in the court’s lodestar calculation.

The objector cited federal authorities in support of the objection. The objector argued that requiring class members to file objections to the proposed settlement and request for attorney fees before class counsel filed their motion for attorney fees was a violation of due process. In support of this argument, the objector relied on FRCP 23 (rule 23) and 54 (rule 54) (28 U.S.C.), and the Ninth Circuit’s opinion in In re Mercury Interactive Corp. Securities Litigation (9th Cir. 2010) 618 F.3d 988, 993‑995.

In deciding the issue, the second appellate district stated that FRCP 23 and related federal case law does not control in California. The court stated that:

As a general rule, California courts are not bound by the federal rules of procedure but may look to them and to the federal cases interpreting them for guidance or where California precedent is lacking.”

The court of appeal stated that under the “common fund” doctrine, the goal is to compensate counsel for their efforts, regardless of the method of calculation. Thus, the “percentage‑of‑the‑benefit” analysis or the lodestar method for determining attorney fees is appropriate so long as the chosen method is applied consistently and accurately reflects the type of legal work performed in the relevant community.

When automatic stay violations require fee awards

In America’s Servicing Co. v. Schwartz‑Tallard, 2014 DJDAR 12063, the United States Court of Appeal for the Ninth Circuit decided an interesting case arising from allegations that a debt servicing entity violated the Bankruptcy Code’s automatic stay provisions.

A debt servicing entity entered into a contract to service a debtor’s home mortgage. The debtor subsequently filed for bankruptcy, but continued to make mortgage payments to the entity. However, the servicing entity contended that there was a default, and moved to lift the automatic stay, allowing it to foreclose on the debtor’s home. The court granted the motion to lift the stay.

The Bankruptcy Court subsequently reinstated the stay orally at a hearing at which the debt servicer did not make an appearance. The court did not render a written order reinstating the stay until after the debtor’s home was sold at a trustee’s sale at the behest of the debt servicing entity. In response, the debtor filed a motion for violation of the automatic stay, seeking sanctions and other relief. Subsequently, the bankruptcy court found in favor of the debtor and awarded damages against the debt servicer. The court also ordered a return of the home back to the debtor.

The debt servicer appealed the lower court’s order. The district court upheld the Bankruptcy Court’s decision. The debtor then moved to recover the attorney fees incurred in the appeal by the debt servicer to the district court. The Bankruptcy Court denied the request for fees, concluding that the fees were not incurred in “enforcing” the automatic stay provisions of the Bankruptcy Code. The Bankruptcy Appellate Panel (BAP) overturned that decision.

The Ninth Circuit affirmed the ruling of the BAP, noting that under Bankruptcy Code Section 362, a party injured by any willful violation of a stay is entitled to recover actual damages, including costs and attorney fees.  The Ninth Circuit reasoned that because the debtor was not pursuing a damage award, but was defending against the debt servicer’s appeal of the Bankruptcy Court’s ruling, the fees should have been awarded.

Post award correction of attorney fees award by arbitrator is reversed

In Cooper v. Lavely Singer Professional Corp., 2014 DJDAR 13272, the California Court of Appeal for the Second Appellate District ruled that a post‑hearing substantive “correction” of a “Final Award” of attorney fees awarded by an arbitrator was inappropriate.

Jeffrey Cooper (“Cooper”) hired a law firm (“law firm”) to represent him in a fraud case. The case was submitted to arbitration and the arbitrator ruled against Cooper. Cooper then commenced an arbitration with JAMS against the law firm, alleging attorney negligence and malpractice. The law firm represented itself in the arbitration. Following a hearing, the arbitrator found that the law firm was the prevailing party and permitted the law firm to submit a motion for attorney fees. The arbitrator then issued a “Final Award” but denied the request for attorney fees in total. Thereafter, the law firm moved for “correction” of the award, arguing that the arbitrator had the discretion to “correct the award” in the “interest of justice.” Based on new paperwork and evidence that was submitted by the law firm, the arbitrator made a revised award granting an award of attorney fees.

The court of appeal reversed the decision and actions of the arbitrator. The court of appeal noted that under CCP§ 1284, an arbitrator has the power to “correct” a final arbitration award only if the correction is for “miscalculation of figures” or “nonsubstantive matters of form” that have no impact on the substantive merits of the arbitration. The court of appeal specifically concluded that an arbitrator is prohibited from substantively amending the final award to include new awards of damages or attorney fees. The court of appeal concluded that the arbitrator’s award of attorney fees in the revised final award was not a “correction” as defined by CCP§ 1284. The court of appeal concluded that the trial court erred in denying Cooper’s petition to vacate the attorney fee award on that basis.

Attorney fees claim becomes the tail that wags the litigation dog

In Ellis Law Group LLP v. Nevada City Sugar Loaf Properties LLC, 2014 DJDAR 13541, the California Court of Appeal for the Third Appellate District decided a case implicating the doctrine that self‑represented law firms may not be awarded attorney fees for work conducted to pursue an anti‑SLAPP motion.

The Ellis Law Group LLP (Ellis) sued Nevada City Sugar Loaf Properties LLC (Nevada) to collect unpaid legal fees and costs. Sugar Loaf filed a cross‑complaint, which listed three attorneys in the caption, including Joseph Major, as counsel of record for Ellis. Major’s name was also included as an Ellis attorney in the caption of numerous other documents relating to the anti‑SLAPP motion. The trial court subsequently granted the anti‑SLAPP motion.

Ellis then filed a motion for attorney fees as the prevailing party. In support of the fee motion, Major contended that attorney fees should be awarded because he was an “independent contractor” for the Ellis law firm and was not an attorney employed by the firm. The trial court granted the fee motion and awarded Ellis $14,553.50 in attorney fees.

The court of appeal reversed the fee award rendered by the trial court. The court noted that while normally a prevailing defendant on a special motion to strike should be awarded attorney fees, a successful “self‑represented attorney” on such a motion is not entitled to a fee award. The court held that “of counsel” should be considered a member of the law firm, if the relationship between the two is “close, personal and regular.” The court noted that the analysis for “of counsel” attorneys applies to attorneys who are “independent contractors.”  The court reasoned that during his work on the anti‑SLAPP motion, Major was a member of the law firm because he was included on the caption of numerous anti‑SLAPP pleadings.

A Cautionary Tale: Members of a Defunct LLC May Have Liability For Attorney Fees

In CB Richard Ellis Inc. v. Terra Nostra Consultants the California Court of Appeal for the Fourth Appellate District decided an interesting issue concerning the liability of an LLC member for a fee award imposed against the defunct entity, a Limited Liability Company (“LLC”).

CB Richard Ellis Inc. (CBRE) entered into a real property listing agreement with Jefferson 38 LLC (“Jefferson”).  Jefferson agreed to pay CBRE a 6 percent sales commission upon successful closing on a piece of land.

Jefferson began negotiating with a potential buyer, who eventually purchased the property for a multi‑million dollar sum. Jefferson failed to pay CBRE any commission on the sale. Subsequently, CBRE initiated arbitration against Jefferson to seek payment of its contractual commission. After successfully obtaining an award against Jefferson, CBRE filed a complaint against the individual members of Jefferson to enforce the award as the LLC had been dissolved. CBRE asserted claims for breach of contract and sought other forms of relief as well.

The jury found that Jefferson breached the contract with CBRE by failing to pay the promised commission. The jury also found that the LLC had been purposely dissolved and that a financial distribution had been made to the LLC members upon the dissolution. The jury awarded CBRE $354,000 and the court subsequently concluded that each LLC member was liable up to the amount distributed upon dissolution of the LLC. However, the trial court denied CBRE’s motion for attorney fees.

CBRE appealed the decision denying attorney fees and the court of appeal reversed. The court noted that pursuant to former Corporations Code § 17355(a)(1)(B), causes of action against a dissolved limited liability company may be enforced against its members, if any of the assets of the dissolved company have been distributed to members upon dissolution. 

Based on the jury’s finding that Jefferson was dissolved and that the assets were distributed to its members, the court of appeal reasoned that the LLC members became parties to the contract with CBRE as a matter of law. On this basis, the court of appeal concluded that attorney fees were recoverable pursuant to former Corporations Code § 17355.

 

Creditor's Willful Violation of Automatic Stay Results in Fee Award

In Snowden v. Check Into Cash of Washington Inc. (In re Snowden), 2014 DJDAR 12677, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit decided a bankruptcy case involving the award of attorney fees.

The debtor obtained a loan from Check Into Cash (“CIC”). The debtor filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy and listed CIC as an unsecured creditor. After the bankruptcy petition was filed, CIC cashed a check the debtor had written to secure the loan. CIC’s actions resulted in the bank account to be overdrawn.

The debtor filed a motion for sanctions, alleging that CIC willfully violated the automatic stay provisions of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code. CIC denied it violated the automatic stay. In response to the debtor’s request to settle, CIC sent an email offering to resolve the entire matter for approximately $1,000. The debtor did not agree to those terms.

Subsequently, the bankruptcy court concluded that CIC violated the automatic stay and awarded damages totaling $27,484, including attorney fees. The debtor was not satisfied with the fee award and pursued an appeal. On appeal, the debtor argued she was entitled to additional attorney fees for the entire time period before the court determined that CIC had violated the automatic stay.

The Ninth Circuit partially reversed the decision of the lower court. The Ninth Circuit noted that attorney fees are recoverable when the automatic stay is willfully violated. The Ninth Circuit concluded that the lower court improperly calculated the fee award and should have awarded fees incurred to end a violation of the automatic stay.

 

A Judgment Cannot Not Lie Against Attorney Who is a Non Party

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 a Memorandum of Costs required in addition to a Fee Petition?

In Kaufman v. Diskeeper Corp., 2014 DJDAR 11468, the California Court of Appeal for the Second Appellate District decided an interesting case involving the interplay of a filed Memorandum of Costs and a related Petition to Recover Attorney Fees.

An employee sued his employer for wrongful termination. After the lawsuit settled, a comprehensive settlement agreement was drafted, which contained an attorney fee provision. The agreement also contained an arbitration provision for resolving disputes that might arise concerning the agreement.

The employer subsequently filed for arbitration against the former employee and his attorney. The Petition to Compel Arbitration alleged that the employee failed to comply with important provisions of the resolution agreement. The arbitrator found in favor of the employer. Both parties then filed motions with the trial court. The employee sought to vacate the arbitrator’s decision. The employer sought a ruling confirming the award. The trial court ultimately confirmed the arbitration award and entered judgment for the employer.

The employer then filed a motion for an award of attorney fees, claiming that it was the prevailing party in the arbitration. However, the trial court denied the motion on the ground that a timely Memorandum of Costs was not submitted in conjunction with the fee petition.

The employer appealed and the trial court’s decision was reversed. The court noted that a contractual request for attorney fees must be based on Civil Code Section 1717. That statute states that reasonable attorney fees are “an element of the costs of suit.” The California Rules of Court (Rule 3.1700) requires a party claiming costs to file a Memorandum of Costs.

The court of appeal noted, however, that there is built in ambiguity in the process. Although Rule 3.1702(b) governs attorney fees which are incurred prior to a trial court judgment, it fails to even mention a Memorandum of Costs. The court of appeal also pointed out that Rule 3.1702(e) requires attorney fees to be claimed in a Memorandum of Costs only when an attorney fees motion is not required. On this basis, the court of appeal concluded that Rule 3.1700 did not apply as Section 1717 fee claims are solely governed by Rule 3.1702.

 

Older Entries

November 21, 2014 — Fee award against non-party attorney is thrown out by appellate court

September 3, 2014 — Is an independent lawsuit required to fix amount of attorney's fee lien?

August 12, 2014 — Court decides when statute of limitations for "wrongful act or omission" against counsel begins

August 8, 2014 — Timing of judgment creditor's entitled fee petition key to enforcement

July 21, 2014 — Trial Court's Calculation of Lodestar Is Affirmed

May 30, 2014 — Reasonable attorney fees did not include underlying administrative hearing process against Social Services, court determines

May 19, 2014 — Settlement Agreement Silent On "Costs" Leads To Prevailing Party Award

May 9, 2014 — Is the Claimant entitled to attorney fees when the government asserts an unreasonable position?

April 29, 2014 — U.S. Supreme Court Rules on Attorneys Fees in Two Patent Cases

April 24, 2014 — Attorney Litigants May Not Recover Attorney Fees When They Represent Themselves

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