Fourth District, Division 3 Finds Fee Motion Was Timely and Awarded Fees Were Not Too High.
In Mallard v. Progressive Choice Ins. Co., Case Nos. G042527/G042710 (4th Dist., Div. 3 Sept. 15, 2010) (certified for publication), defendant (an insurance company’s litigation attorney) won a SLAPP motion and was awarded fees of $13,756.64 under the mandatory fee-shifting provision (Code Civ. Proc., § 425.16(c)). Losing plaintiff appealed.
She lost not only the merits appeal, but also the appeal relating to the fee award.
Plaintiff’s argument that the fee motion was not filed timely happened to be mistaken, because there was no “notice of entry of judgment” document for the merits SLAPP order. Given that this did not apparently exist, defendant attorney did timely file his fee application within 180 days from the date of the underlying SLAPP order. (Cal. Rules of Ct., rules 3.1702(b), 8.104(a), (f).)
As far as excessiveness was concerned, losing litigant did not explain which fees were excessive and why they were too high. This meant the fee order passed muster under the deferential abuse of discretion standard. (Christian Research Institute v. Alnor, 165 Cal.App.4th 1315, 1322 (2008).)
Mallard was a 3-0 opinion authored by Justice Fybel on behalf of the Fourth District, Division 3.