No Statement of Decision on “Math” For An Award Is Required In California State Court, Different Than Federal Court Decisions on Same Subject.
Vocational printing, math class. 1916. Lewis Hines, photographer. Library of Congress.
Switzer v. Cal. Dept. of Corrections, Case No. B246005 (2d Dist., Div. 4 Sept. 24, 2014) (unpublished) is a case which highlights differences in thinking between California state and federal courts on how much “math” a court must show in fashioning a fee recovery award.
In this state court case, plaintiff won a FEHA case, basically awarded $35,000 in emotional distress damages and obtaining an injunction (although the injunction was remanded back for reconsideration on appeal). Plaintiff then sought fees of $619,255 plus a 1.4 to 2.0 positive multiplier. The lower court awarded $579,800 in fees and $64,739.66 in costs.
The unhappy defense appealed the fee award, to no avail—only arguing that the lower court did not do enough “to show its math.” The reviewing court found that was not a requirement under state law, citing Taylor v. Nabors Drilling USA, LP, 222 Cal.App.4th 1228, 1249-1250 (2014) [discussed in our Jan. 14, 2014 post]), such that the fee recovery was affirmed.
BLOG CONTRAST—The Ninth Circuit does require a “showing of the math,” likely tied into the fact that state law does not require a statement of decision versus articulated reasoning if more than a 10% haircut is given a la the Moreno decision. (E.g., Padgett v. Loventhal, 706 F.3d 1205, 1208 (9th Cir. 2013) [discussed in our Feb. 13, 2013 post]; Barnard v. Theobold, 721 F.2d 1069, 1077 (9th Cir. 2013) [discussed in our July 8, 2013 post].)