Winner Vindicated Important Right To Initiative Tenets And 1021.5 Fee Award Can Be Made Against Losing Individual Litigant.
In Bogan v. Houlemard (Campbell), Case No. H041246 (6th Dist. Sept. 30, 2015) (unpublished), one individual litigant, who was a proponent for an initiative on the Monterey County ballot, won a defense effort against another individual litigant’s mandate petition to get a dueling initiative submitted for voter approval. The winning litigant obtained a private attorney general fee award against losing individual to the tune of $86,909.34.
Disgruntled litigant did not win on appeal. The main reason was that the right to an initiative was a significant public benefit vindicated by winning litigant, who was pretty much vindicating it alone and with no indication he had any financial “skin” in the game. Put these factors together, and 1021.5 fees were justified. (Wal-Mart Real Estate Business Trust v. City Council of San Marcos, 132 Cal.App.4th 614, 622-624 (2005).) Also, nothing in 1021.5 indicates that a fee award cannot be made against an individual plaintiff, just as it can be made against losing corporations/governmental entities. (Adoption of Joshua S., 42 Cal.4th 945, 958 (2008).) Fee award affirmed.