Allocation—Artefex LP v. Bushman, Case No. B260737 (2d Dist., Div. 6 Dec. 17, 2015) (Unpublished).
In this one, plaintiffs won $15,000 on a contract breach claim after voluntarily dismissing tort claims, with the trial judge then awarding $191,256 in fees and $11,778.37 in costs based on a fees clause. The 2/6 DCA reversed based on its perception that the trial judge should have apportioned costs between the compensable contract and noncompensable tort claims under the circumstances. It was convinced that the contract and tort claims did not share a common nucleus of facts.
Consumer Statutes—Calande v. Surf and Sand, LLC, Case No. H038679 (6th Dist. Nov. 19, 2015, mod. Dec. 17, 2015) (Unpublished).
Defendants mobile owner/operator appealed a denial of fees requests, claiming they were entitled to them based on Civil Code section 1942.5(g), a retaliatory eviction fee-shifting provision, and Civil Code section 798.85, a Mobile Residency Law fee-shifting provision. The appellate court agreed and reversed, determining that a general prayer for fees satisfied the section 1942.5(g) requirement of requesting them upon initiation of the action and further deciding that the fifth cause of action triggered MRL fee recovery.
Settlement—Ratner v. Wilson, Case No. G051264 (4th Dist., Div. 3 Dec. 17, 2015) (Unpublished).
Here, a second judge denied a fee motion under a settlement agreement construed to be valid by a first judge ordering consideration of the fee request. Second judge refused to grant fees, construing the validity of the settlement agreement in contravention of what was done with the first judge. Presiding Justice O’Leary, on behalf of a 3-0 panel, said “no go,” can’t revisit the determination by the prior judge so look at the fee request again.
Costs—Grabowiec v. Schopmeyer, Case No. G050978 (4th Dist., Div. 3 Dec. 17, 2015) (Unpublished).
The decision, again by Presiding Justice O’Leary, reminds us that the routine costs winner is not necessarily a fee winner under a fee-shifting statute—a common argument we see often, but which is usually a loser. There is a distinction between prevailing for routine costs and prevailing for an award of attorney’s fees. Affirmance in this one.
Family Law—In re Marriage of Mejia, Case No. B261401 (2d Dist., Div. 7 Dec. 17, 2015) (Unpublished).
Last on the list, a fee order under Family Code sections 2030/2032 (needs based) and 271 (sanctions) was affirmed under the abuse of discretion standard based on the failure of appellant to provide an adequate record—no reporter’s transcripts of oral hearings were provided so as to retard review under the circumstances.