Second District, Division 6 So Holds -- Using Pragmatic Standard for Fee Recovery.
Here is one which teaches that the “prevailing party” determination is a fluid, pragmatically-based determination, as we have explored in many past posts.
Rocketstar Robotics, Inc. v. California Motors, LLC, Case No. B226326 (2d Dist., Div. 6 Apr. 19, 2011) (unpublished) was a situation where a plaintiff recovered based on a common count (implied-in-fact contract) but was “defensed” on a contract count against defendants based on the determination that a certain written contract was just a template never entered into by the parties. Defendants moved to recover--gulp!--$171,013.95 in attorney’s fees on the theory that they prevailed on the express contract count. The trial court denied the fee request, triggering an appeal.
Because the complaint had two contract claims, defendants prevailed on the express one but plaintiff appealed on the implied-in-fact contract count. A tie, such that defendants did not obtain a simple, unqualified victory by defeating the only contract claim in the action. This allowed the lower court discretion to determine the prevailing party was no one, which it did correctly said Justice Yegan, author of a 3-0 decision on behalf of the appellate court.