Dept. of Parks and Recreation v. Schoendorf, Case No. H039321 (6th Dist. May 26, 2015) (unpublished).
In this one, an appellate court denied $300,000 in attorney’s fees against the State under a settlement agreement where “reasonable diligence” governed the fee entitlement. Given that the prevailing party determination was discretionary under this clause and no one obtained a complete victory, little wonder that Civil Code section 1717 principles required an affirmance of the result in this encroachment case. After all, “reasonable diligence” does provide a great degree of discretion as to who prevailed, with the lower court decision being entitled to deference on appeal.
Doe v. Dept. of Education, Case No. C072145 (3d Dist. May 26, 2015) (unpublished).
This second case was one where plaintiff settled with one defendant, but had some technical victories as to the California Department of Education (CDE). Ultimately, however, plaintiff did not win as to CDE based on administrative exhaustion arguments. Although plaintiff sought $840,000 (2.5 multiplier on the lodestar), the trial court denied the request, a result affirmed on appeal. Reason: Plaintiff was not “successful” as against CDE, with a pragmatic standard showing plaintiff did not prevail in the case as to this particular defendant.
Robles v. McErlain, Case Nos. A139331/A139532 (1st Dist., Div. 4 May 26, 2015) (unpublished).
The third cause was an attorney’s fees award in a harassment injunction proceeding, with there being fee entitlement and no necessity to provide good faith as an element. (Code Civ. Proc., § 527.6; Krug v. Maschmeier, 172 Cal.App.4th 796, 803 (2009).) The appellate court rejected the idea that detailed billings are required as substantiation under California state law, because an adequate declaration from an attorney as to work will suffice. However, the reviewing court did reverse a 20% multiplier “bump” given that the case was not complex and not taken on a contingent basis—such that the lodestar factors adequately addressed any fee request and dispensed with the necessity of any positive enhancement.