Case Was Unreasonable/Without Foundation, and Trial Court Lowered Lodestar One Half Based on Plaintiff’s Ability to Pay.
FEHA plaintiff lost on a summary judgment motion, with the lower court finding that the case was unreasonable and without foundation from inception based on proof that there was objective basis for what the governmental entity did in Nichols v. County of Los Angeles, Case No. B244094 (2d Dist., Div. 3 July 18, 2014) (unpublished). The lower court found the defense was entitled to a FEHA fees lodestar award of $107,908, but reduced the fee award against plaintiff to $53,704 based on her ability to pay.
The fee award was affirmed because the record showed that plaintiff’s case was unreasonable and without foundation. (Cummings v. Benco Bldg. Services, 11 Cal.App.4th 1383, 1387-1388 (1992).) Although plaintiff did not appeal the amount of the fee award, it looks like the lower court did well in considering ability to pay and reducing the fee award accordingly.