In Intelligent Investments Corp. v. Gonzales, Case No. BV 031101 (L.A. Superior Court Appellate Division June 14, 2016) (published; post on calgov website on July 19, 2016), landlord voluntarily dismissed an unlawful detainer action and a lower court denied attorney’s fees to defendant tenant. This got reversed on appeal.
Defendant tenant was properly entitled to attorney’s fees under a Los Angeles Municipal Code fee-shifting statute applicable to property in Los Angeles’s Rent Escrow Account Program and clearly won his litigation objective of preventing landlord from obtaining possession of the residential premises he was leasing. No magic pleading of fee entitlement was needed in tenant’s answer to the UD complaint such that it was an abuse of discretion to not grant some reasonable attorney’s fees to tenant. Reversed and remanded for a determination of fees recoverable by tenant.