As we have done in past years, wishing all readers the happiest of Holidays, we now present our top 20 published decisions from California appellate courts or the Ninth Circuit for the 2015 year. This list is not meant to slight other important decisions in certain areas, but these are the ones that “rose to the top” from our perspective. We will post 10 today and 10 in an ensuing post. The number of ranking is not geared at all to the decision’s relative importance, and we do not mean to slight other published decisions—not to mention the wealth of unpublished decisions on fees/costs issues. However, we also will be doing a separate 2015 year-end post which lists those cases pending in the California Supreme Court which happen to involve attorney’s fees or costs issues.
20. Gray1 CPB, LLC v. SCC Acquisitions, Inc., 233 Cal.App.4th 882 (4th Dist., Div. 3 Jan. 27, 2015)—authored by Justice Moore; discussed in our Jan. 28, 2015 post: Judgment creditor is precluded from seeking post-judgment enforcement fees under CCP § 685.080 after accepting cashier’s check from judgment debtor.
19. Tract 19051 Homeowners Assn. v. Kemp, 60 Cal.4th 1135 (Cal. Supreme Court March 5, 2015)—authored by Chief Justice Cantil-Sakauye; discussed in our Mar. 7, 2015 post: Homeowner defeating homeowner association based on HOA not being a common interest development with valid governing documents was entitled to attorney’s fees recovery under Civil Code § 5975(c) (formerly § 1354(c)), reversing an intermediate appellate court decision which refused fee recovery to prevailing homeowner.
18. People ex rel. CalTrans v. Hansen’s Truck Stop, Inc., 236 Cal.App.4th 178 (1st Dist., Div. 4 April 24, 2015)—authored by Justice Rivera; discussed in our Apr. 25, 2015 post:
Property owner condemnee is entitled to litigation expenses from condemnor in eminent domain case even though issues were bifurcated/procedurally sliced up, with demand/offer responses subject to recalibration based on a continued trial date.
17. Ryan v. Editions Limited West, Inc., 786 F.3d 754 (9th Cir. May 19, 2015)—authored by Circuit Judge Hawkins; discussed in our May 23, 2015 post: Copyright Act of 1976 does not expressly or impliedly preempt enforcement of a broadly worded contractual attorney’s fees clause in the context of a contributory copyright infringement case.
16. Lee v. Silveira, 236 Cal.App.4th 208 (5th Dist. May 15, 2015)—authored by Justice Franson; discussed in our May 16, 2015 post: Damages not allowable by law are excluded for purposes of determining if defendant prevailed under a CCP § 998 offer.
15. Williams v. Chino Valley Independent Fire Dist., 61 Cal.4th 97 (Cal. Supreme Court May 4, 2015)—authored by Justice Werdegar; discussed in our May 4, 2015 post: Losing FEHA plaintiff is not subject to routine costs exposure unless losing plaintiff brought or prosecuted a frivolous, unreasonable, meritless, or vexatious case against prevailing defendant.
14. Monterossa v. Superior Court, 237 Cal.App.4th 747 (3d Dist. June 12, 2015)—authored by Acting Presiding Justice Butz; discussed in our June 14, 2015 post: Borrower winning preliminary injunction against lender for “dual tracking” violation is entitled to fee recovery.
13. Royal Practice Funding Corp. v. Arneson, 239 Cal.App.4th 1275 (4th Dist., Div. 3 July 28, 2015)—authored by Justice Bedsworth; discussed in our July 30, 2015 post: Ex-employer’s withdrawal of a superior court petition respecting an ex-employee’s Labor Commissioner wage claim gives rise to fee recovery under Labor Code § 98.2.
12. First Intercontinental Bank v. Ahn, 798 F.3d 1149 (9th Cir. Aug. 18, 2015)—authored by Circuit Judge M.D. Smith; discussed in our Aug. 18, 2015 post: California Civil Code § 1717 policy trumps a foreign choice-of-law clause for fee recovery purposes, accepting ABF Capital/Grove Properties over ABF Capital/Berglass approaches by California’s intermediate appellate courts.
11. Kahn v. The Dewey Group, 240 Cal.App.4th 227 (2d Dist., Div. 3 Sept. 8, 2015)—authored by Presiding Justice Edmon; discussed in our Sept. 9, 2015 post: Electronic service of notice of judgment entry extends time to file costs memorandum and “comparison” approach is utilized to make multiple defendants await an ultimate judgment for purposes of determining whether they prevailed under a joint CCP § 998 offer.
Part 2 of 2 will be coming before year’s end, along with the list of pending California Supreme Court cases in the areas we blog on. Again, enjoy this time of the year!