Deadlines/Pro Per Representation: Losing Party Not Entitled To Costs Because Filed Too Late, Not Entitled To Fees Based On Pro Per Representation
Although losing defendants probably did not prevail to begin with, their appeal of a lower court’s denial of fees and costs was rebuffed in Connolly v. Trabue, Case No. A131984 (1st Dist., Div. 2 Apr. 10, 2012) (partially published; fee/costs discussion not published).
The costs memorandum was filed past the 15 day deadline in Cal. Rules of Court, rule 3.1700(a), reason enough to deny a costs award. With respect to attorney’s fees, defendants represented themselves in pro per, and this cannot result in fee recovery. (PLCM Group, Inc. v. Drexler, 22 Cal.4th 1084, 1092 (2000).) [Actually, the lower court found losing defendants could not get this relief because they did not prevail; sounds good to us, but the appellate court affirmed the denial orders on the grounds we discussed above.]
Also, the case is must reading for litigators involved in prescriptive easement disputes, establishing that laches is not a proper defense in these types of cases.