Another Remand To Get It Right.
Way back in April 21, 2016, we posted on New Cingular Wireless PCS, LLC v. Public Utilities Com., 246 Cal.App.4th 784 (2016), where the 1/4 DCA remanded a fee award to intervenors under Public Utility Code section 1803 for intervenors making “a substantial contribution of the adoption, in whole or in part, of the commission’s order or decision.”
On remand from this 2016 appellate decision, the PUC awarded every penny to intervenors based on the theory that compensation was warranted if the positions advocated by the intervenors “would have” materially influenced a decision on the merits.
The same appellate court in New Cingular Wireless PCS, LLC v. PUC, Case No. A151870 (1st Dist., Div. 4 Mar. 29, 2018 published and modified from Mar. 13, 2018 unpublished decision) vacated the fee determinations and remanded once more.
This time, the 1/4 DCA found that the “would have” rationale was too speculative, with it being necessary for intervenors to trace time and costs billed by intervenors with precision to an order or decision of the CPUC; and, absent that, making a reasonable allocation of amounts to the successful work rather than just claiming a 100% fee recompense.