Unpublished Decision Has Nice Review of Lodestar Setting and Appellate Review Principles.
DEI, LLC v. Capital Partners Services Corp., Case No. D062553 (4th Dist., Div. 1 Feb. 13, 2014) (unpublished) is not remarkable for the appellate court’s affirmance of a $134,092.00 attorney’s fees award (out of a requested $153,527.50) to the winning defendant under Civil Code section 1717, but is remarkable for its nice summary of these lodestar and review of fee order principles:
1. Calculation of the lodestar is the method used to gauge fully compensatory, reasonable fees to be awarded to a prevailing party;
2. A party challenging fee submissions must contest specific items rather than make just general arguments that claimed fees are excessive, duplicative, or unrelated to compensable work;
3. A fee award on a lodestar calculation is reviewed under a highly deferential abuse of discretion standard;
4. The trial court is not required to explain the lodestar calculation;
5. A percentage reduction for excessive billings is permitted;
6. Padding is not subject to compensation;
7. Block billing is not objectionable per se unless there is a need to separate out work that qualifies for compensation from work that does not;
8. Vague entries are subject to lower court reduction; and
9. An opposing party litigating tenaciously cannot later be heard to complain about the time the prevailing party spent in response.