Procedural Challenges to Costs and Fees Awards Did Not Prevail.
Guo v. Zhang, Case No. B235748 (2d Dist., Div. 4 Aug. 21, 2012) (unpublished) is a case where one defendant was held to be an alter ego of a business that was hit with compensatory damages for Labor Code violations and another defendant was held not to be an alter ego in a case brought by two plaintiffs/former employees. Predictably, plaintiffs moved for recovery of costs/attorney’s fees against the alter ego, and defendant winner moved to recover routine costs from the plaintiffs. The trial court saw it this way: plaintiff won costs of $10,444.25 and fees of $95,680.09 against alter ego defendant, while winning defendant only won reduced costs of $470 (although seeking $7,430 in costs from each plaintiff).
All of the fees and costs orders were affirmed on appeal.
Winning defendant balked at the trial court allowing plaintiffs to bring a consolidated motion to tax costs against him, but the consolidation of the two cases earlier certainly allowed the trial court to proceed as it did. Winning defendant also challenged the lower court’s failure in not awarding sanctions, but he was damned by his own actions in only appealing the costs order--he forfeited these challenges by not appealing the final judgment (which would include the sanctions award).
Alter ego losing defendant challenged plaintiffs’ fees/costs motion as being untimely. Well, this was a close one. No one mailed a notice of entry of judgment, so the 180 day rule applied after the date of entry of judgment. Luckily for plaintiffs, they actually filed the fees/cost motion on the last day possible -- after the appellate court observed that the 180th day fell on a Sunday (excluded from counting under Code Civ. Proc., §§ 10, 12a) and that the next day July 4 was a holiday, which extended it one more day to the date of filing. Whew!
July 4 parade. NY. 1910-1915. Library of Congress.