Case Still Pending, With Motion for Reconsideration Arguing Against “Chill” From Ultimate Result.
Field v. Bowen, Case No. CGC-10-502018 (San Francisco Super. Ct. Aug. 1, 2012) is an interesting superior court decision in an election ballot write-in dispute eventually lost by plaintiff after a prior published appellate decision and then adverse decision on the merits.
Plaintiffs sought to recoup about $2 million in fees under CCP § 1021.5, California’s private attorney general statute, arguing that it was the catalyst for subsequent litigation (AB 1413) that clarified the law. The lower court denied the fee request because plaintiff was unsuccessful on the merits and AB 1413 only substituted clearer language.
However, the trial court did grant 1021.5 fees to intervenors to the tune of $243,279.50 (full amount requested) based on plaintiffs’ concession that the case was one of public interest--an admission it gave dispositive weight to.
Plaintiffs have filed a reconsideration motion from the intervenor fee order, set for hearing on October 3, 2012. The reconsideration motion argues that the end result will chill vindication of public interest rights in this area, if upheld.
Chilly. 1910-1911. Herbert George Ponting, photographer. Library of Congress.