However, Prevailing Defense Was Entitled To Fees For Tort Claim Work Given Breadth Of Contractual Fees Clause.
A trial judge in Khan v. Shim, Case No. H041608 (6th Dist. Dec. 29, 2016) (published) granted the prevailing defense all fees for defensive work incurred in defending against a complaint containing both contractual and tort claims following plaintiff's voluntary dismissal of the complaint. The Sixth District reversed and remanded for an allocation of fees between compensable and non-compensable work.
The main basis for the reversal was that the trial court's ruling ran afoul of Santisas [one of Our Leading Cases] as far as allowing for recovery of work on the contract claims. However, the fees clause was broad—covering "any litigation [which was] commenced concerning the Contract of Sale's terms, interpretation, or enforcement or the rights and duties of any party in relation thereto." The breadth of the clause encompassed the tort claims, such that the lower court on remand needed to do an apportionment rather than awarding for fee work on non-tort claims.