Attorney Fees

Remember, Don’t Be Shy

I told you last October not to be shy when you move to recover attorney fees. Steele v. Youthful Offender Parole Board, case no. C053553 (3d Dist. May 15, 2008) is the most recent case in point.

Defendant appealed from a judgment for plaintiff on a retaliation claim under the Fair Employment and Housing Act (Govt. Code, § 12900 et seq.). Damages were barely $9,000, but plaintiff’s attorney was awarded more than $146,000 in fees, which is almost certainly what drove the appeal.

Defendant’s only contention regarding fees on appeal, however, was that the fee award must be reversed because the underlying judgment must be reversed. No claim that the fees were excessive, just that the fee award must fall with the underlying judgment.

The judgment survives substantial evidence review, however. Which means that the fee award of more than 16 times the judgment survives, too.