Block Billing Vitiated Certainty of Defense Request for Allocated Fee Recovery.
We have many, many times before warned about the dangers of block billing. Under governing California law, block billing can result in draconian results when a trial court considers a fee request--it can disregard the billing in entirety or reduce the request in its discretion. Here is one where block billing alone justified the denial of a defense FEHA request.
In Radford v. Vanderspek, Case Nos. A129524/A129762 (1st Dist., Div. 5 Jan. 9, 2012) (unpublished), the defense moved for attorney’s fees after prevailing on a FEHA retaliatory claim--arguing it was frivolous and allowed for allocated fees under Government Code section 12965(b) (a fee-shifting statute allowing the defense to recover for frivolous FEHA claims).
The trial court denied fee recovery to the defense, which was affirmed on appeal. The reason was simple and one we have cautioned against many times in the past: block billing. The defense engaged in block billing, so that the lower court properly denied the request alone because the defense could not establish with certainty the allocated time spent defending against the frivolous claim.