Substantial Benefit And Financial Burden Elements Easily Met.
Women with ukuleles. July 9, 1926. Library of Congress.
Well, we wish Retired Justice Robert Mallano the best in retirement; and, to show that he is not just playing a ukulele, the 2/2 DCA affirmed the merits and an attorney's fees award in his favor in a class action challenging the State's formula used to make payments and benefits to retired judicial officers.
In Mallano v. Chiang, Case No. B272124 (2d Dist., Div. 2 Apr. 5, 2017) (unpublished), he was awarded $659,756 in attorney's fees under CCP § 1021.5 for prevailing on his claims. That was sustained on appeal, with the reviewing court determining that (1) the case did confer a substantial benefit given that judicial compensation is of state-wide interest as far as vested compensation rights and the case likely meant the State has to fund $13 million more for 1,800 judicial retirees; and (2) the case was one where the financial burdens of litigation easily outstripped any individual interest based on Retired Justice Mallano only receiving $17,898.13 in unpaid wages/salary given the enormous litigation costs against the State for prevailing.