In Mako Fund, Inc. v. Perrone, Case No. B238048 (2d Dist., Div. 1 Nov. 30, 2012) (unpublished), two litigants sued each other and one obtained a judgment for compensatory damages, punitive damages, costs of suit, and attorney’s fees. After winner found out that loser lacked assets to satisfy the judgment, it moved to add a general partner as a judgment debtor--a request denied by the trial court. After partner died, judgment creditor filed a creditor’s claim against partner’s estate, which the estate administrator denied. After judgment creditor brought suit against the administrator on an alter ego theory, the trial court sustained administrator’s demurrer without leave and awarded her $18,975 in fees.
Judgment creditor appealed, but to no avail. First of all, the appellate court found that appellant did adequately appeal the fee award, because it was encompassed within the scope of the dismissal order appealed from. (This followed from the principle that notices of appeal are construed liberally. See Cal. Rules of Court, rule 8.100(a)(2).) On the merits of the fee award, the broadly worded fees clause in the joint venture agreement between the judgment creditor and judgment debtor (the entity with insufficient assets leading judgment creditor to pursue partner, who died during the battle) encompassed “an alleged dispute .... in connection with” the joint venture agreement and related to “any legal action,” which certainly covered judgment creditor’s unsuccessful lawsuit against the administrator of partner’s estate. The matter was remanded to the trial court for fixing of fees.