However, Striking Plaintiff’s Costs Had To Be Reconsidered Under Williams.
Actually, Myres v. San Francisco Housing Authority, Case No. A141107 (1st Dist., Div. 5 May 20, 2015) (unpublished) may be more interesting for its decision on the costs issue versus the fee issue.
On the fee issue, plaintiff did obtain about a $35,000 compensatory verdict on only one of four causes of action, a harassment/hostile work environmental claim under FEHA. Plaintiff then sought $15,627.81 in costs and $332,061.75 in fees (with the fees being based on a $221,374 lodestar, augmented by a 1.5 multiplier). The trial court issued an order granting $78,750 in fees but striking $7,642.46 in costs.
The appellate court affirmed the fee award but reversed the costs reduction.
The fee award was no abuse of discretion. However, on the costs award, the appellate court was sensitive to the state supreme court’s recent decision in Williams v. Chino Valley Independent Fire Dist., 2015 WL 1964947 (Cal. Sup. Ct. May 4, 2015) [surveyed in our May 4, 2015 post], which found that FEHA plaintiffs ordinarily should be awarded costs and fees unless special circumstances were at play and circumscribing the circumstances under which FEHA prevailing defendants could recover costs. The problem was that the defense, even at the appellate argument, conceded that plaintiff would be entitled to costs unless they would be unjust, which was not the basis for the lower court ruling striking costs. So, the costs issue had to be remanded for a “relook.”