Compensatory Award Was $1 Million, With $1,945,295 FEHA Award Affirmed On Appeal.
In Lopez v. City of Beverly Hills, Case No. B268451 (2d Dist., Div. 3 Nov. 30, 2017 unpublished; received for posting Dec. 1, 2017 unpublished), a FEHA plaintiff—after two years of litigation and a 10-day jury trial involving 24 witnesses--won to the tune of $1 million in compensatory damages. She then sought $2,533,167 in fees (a lodestar plus a 2.0 positive multiplier), with the defense arguing plaintiff should only recover $316,645.88 based on her recovery on certain claims. The trial judge reduced the lodestar somewhat after finding the unsuccessful claims were intertwined with the successful claims, but did grant the 2.0 multiplier to result in a fee award of $1,945,295.
The fee award was affirmed on appeal. The appellate court sustained the trial court’s conclusion that (1) plaintiff’s lead counsel did a good job in trying the case, (2) plaintiff’s counsel advanced $100,000 in hard costs on the case; and (3) the length of the entire matter (even before complaint filing) and contingency risk justified the multiplier enhancement.