Special Mobilehome Residency Law Fee-Shifting Provision Entitled Plaintiffs to Fee/Costs as Prevailing Parties.
Civil Code section 798.85 is a special fee-shifting statute in the Mobilehome Residency Law statutory scheme, mandating an award of reasonable attorney’s fees and costs to the prevailing party under the scheme.
Above: Palace mobile home. Washington, D.C. September 1941. Marion Post Wolcott, photographer. Library of Congress.
In Gibson v. GJ Park Associates, Case No. B224808 (2d Dist., Div. 5 Feb. 23, 2012) (unpublished), mobilehome resident plaintiffs did obtain a restitutionary award from a referee of $314,126.32 based primarily upon mobilehome inhabitability issues. The referee also awarded prevailing plaintiffs fees of $388,759 and costs of $39,486.98 under section 798.85.
Interestingly enough, the referee later vacated the restitutionary award, but the appellate court ordered it reinstated. That meant plaintiffs were still the prevailing parties, justifying the substantial fees/cost awards made below. The appellate court also observed plaintiffs could file another fee/costs award for successful appellate work.