We Now Have A Firm Split—2/2 And 6th DCAs Are At Odds With 4/3 DCA In This Area.
Fault line. Aerial view of the San Andreas Fault. Carol M. Highsmith, photographer. 2013. Library of Congress.
DisputeSuite.com, LLC v. Scoreinc.com, Case No. B248694 (2d Dist., Div. 2 April 14, 2015) (published) may be destined for California Supreme Court review, because we read it as a concrete split of opinion by different intermediate courts of appeal.
What happened here is that defendants obtained a dismissal of a California case pursuant to a Florida forum-selection clause based on a motion to quash service. They then moved for contractual attorney’s fees based on a fees clause (to the tune of $84,640), only to be rebuffed by the trial judge.
The 2/2 DCA affirmed the fee denial order. The key issue for the appellate panel was whether a final resolution of the contractual claims was reached under Civil Code section 1717. Following the Sixth District decision in Estate of Drummond, 149 Cal.App.4th 46, 51 (2007), the DisputeSuite.com panel agreed only an interim victory was obtained until the merits were resolved in Florida. Although not coming out and expressly saying, the court disagreed with the contrary analysis of the Fourth District, Division 3 in Profit Concepts Management, Inc. v. Griffith, 162 Cal.App.4th 950, 956 (2008) [see our May 11, 2008 post] and PNEC Corp. v. Meyer, 190 Cal.App.4th 66, 73 (2010) [see our November 18, 2010 post]—finding a relocation of an active contract dispute from one forum to another was not the equivalent of a final resolution of the contract claims such that a fee recovery was premature.