Defense Only Said Our Fees Are Only One Third Of The Request, With Trial Court Not Crediting That Retort.
In Crowdflower, Inc. v. Asher Insights, Inc., Case No. A143235 (1st Dist., Div. 2 Dec. 29, 2016) (unpublished), new office building owner served a CCP § 998 offer in a contentious lease/retaliation dispute with tenant. The 998 offer reserved the issue of prevailing party status and attorney's fees claims by each side for a postjudgment motion for fees determination before the assigned judge. Tenant accepted the offer, and dueling fees/costs motions ensued. Tenant prevailed and was awarded its full request of $103,680 in fees and $3,144 in costs under a contractual fees clause.
The defense appeal was unsuccessful.
Both sides agreed that the deferential abuse of discretion review standard was applicable to the prevailing party and "amount of fees" determinations. That concession, correct as it was, sank the defense chances on appeal.
On the "prevailing party" issue, the trial judge correctly concluded that plaintiff won on a lease addendum issue by which it retained tenancy in the premises and locked in rents for a 5 year period—these were pragmatically objective litigation achievements by tenant. With respect to the amount of fees, the defense made no specific objection other than "we spent only one third of what you did," with the trial judge confirming this was only counter-salvo in the defense arsenal—a salvo which was rejected. The appellate court had no basis to overturn the lower court granting full fees/costs requests to plaintiff under the record before it.