$79,297.93 Fee Award to Prevailing Party Under Settlement Agreement With Fees Clause Sustained on Appeal.
Be careful what you ask for is the message of the next case we review.
Jackson v. Saunders, Case No. H036370 (6th Dist. Aug. 2, 2012) (unpublished) was a somewhat wild litigation case over an easement necessary to keep certain plaintiffs from being landlocked, involving a prior settlement producing a settlement agreement indicating defendants would not obstruct a certain area, only to then see them put up a gate that required gymnastics to get through complete with charging dogs of the defendants allowed to roam free on the fenced-in land. The upshot was that plaintiffs won the dispute, successfully proving an easement and demonstrating a deeded easement at that--an issue plaintiff put into contention. Based on a fees clause in the prior settlement between the parties, the trial court awarded prevailing plaintiff $79,297.93 in attorney’s fees.
The defense appeal was unsuccessful. Defendant argued that apportionment was necessary, because the deeded nature of the easement work should be excluded. Not so fast, said the appellate court. The defense raised satisfaction of this issue at the trial court level so that the work incurred on proving this issue was indeed compensable.