Great Park Fee Exposure.
In one of our July 1, 2009 posts, we reported on two minority director's reversal of a trial court decision denying them an award of attorney's fees under California's private attorney general statute with respect to a dispute involving the Great Park Corporation (tasked with coordinating development of the "Great Park" at the former El Toro air force base).
Now, a recent article suggests that the Great Park Corporation may face fee exposure as high as $80,000 from this loss. Ben Pugh, who represented the victorious directors, claims the appellate decision vindicates the necessity and value of the litigation his clients pursued.
For more details, see Sean Emery's story "Great Park will pay up to $80,000 in attorney's fees," in the June 30, 2009 edition of ocregister.com.
Nixon Author FOIA Loss.
Author Anthony Summers lost an appeal of a decision denying him an award of attorney's fees under the federal Freedom of Information Act for seeking FBI records in connection with a book he is writing on former President Richard Nixon.
The District of Columbia Circuit decided Mr. Summers did not "prevail" in his FOIA action. Mr. Summers argued that 2007 amendments to the FOIA, which states that a plaintiff "substantially prevails" if a federal agency changes its position on access, retroactively applied to his 2005 settlement by which the FBI offered up three names from a document in exchange for a voluntary dismissal of the suit and stipulation that the disclosure was not an admission of Mr. Summers' success. However, the federal court of appeals found that Congress did not intend the 2007 revisions to apply retroactively such that Mr. Summers could not expose the government to increased liability for past conduct.