• Attorney Fees,  California Procedure,  Costs,  Post-Trial Practice

    Expert Witness Fees May Not Be Awarded Under Private Attorney General Statute

    In a decision being closely watched by many, the California Supreme Court holds today in Olson v. Automobile Club of Southern California, case no. S143999 (Feb. 28, 2008), that Code of Civil Procedure section 1021.5, the state’s “private attorney general” statute, does not authorize a court to award expert witness fees in addition to the attorney fees explicitly authorized by the statute. As the court notes, the statute explicitly authorizes an award of “attorney fees” and is silent about expert witness fees. Which should have made for an easy decision. Yet the court is compelled to delve behind the plain language of the statute. The decision is a good primer…

  • Costs,  Expert Witnesses

    More on California’s Private Attorney General Statute

    This post at The UCL Practitioner notes an article about a case being argued today in the California Supreme Court (Olson v. Automobile Club of Southern California, no. S143999) addressing whether expert witness fees are recoverable under the state’s private attorney general statute, Code of Civil Procedure section 1021.5. If the private AG statute interests you generally, make sure you didn’t miss this post from yesterday, which appears immediately below this one on the home page.

  • Appellate Jurisdiction,  Appellate Procedure,  Attorney Fees,  Costs,  Federal Courts,  Federal Procedure,  Removal

    Appeal after Remand to State Court: Was Removal Reasonable?

    The Ninth Circuit reminds us in Gardner v. MEGA Life & Health Ins. Co., case no. 06-55045 (9th Cir. Nov. 19, 2007), that even though no appeal lies from an order remanding a removed action to state court, the removing defendant may appeal an order to pay costs and fees imposed in connection with the remand under 28 U.S.C. § 1447(c). Here, it pays off. MEGA was ordered to pay costs and fees when the action was remanded. It claimed the only non-diverse defendant, an individual, had been fraudulently joined for the purpose of defeating diversity jurisdiction because the statute of limitations had run as to that defendant. Applying the…

  • Appeal Bonds,  Appellate Procedure,  Attorney Fees,  Costs

    Ninth Circuit: Anticipated Attorney Fees on Appeal Can be Considered in Calculation of Appeal Cost Bond — Sometimes

    In Azizian v. Wilkinson, case no. 05-15847 (August 23, 2007), the Ninth Circuit faced, for the first time,  an issue on which other circuits have split: “whether, or under what circumstances, appellate attorney’s fees are ‘costs on appeal’ that a district court may require an appellant to secure in a bond ordered under Federal Rule of Appellate Procedure 7.”  It provides its conclusion at the outset of the opinion: We conclude that a district court may require an appellant to secure appellate attorney’s fees in a Rule 7 bond, but only if an applicable fee-shifting statute includes them in its definition of recoverable costs, and only if the appellee is…

  • Anti-SLAPP,  Attorney Fees,  California Court of Appeal,  California Procedure,  Costs,  Jurisdiction

    Anti-SLAPP Attorney Fee and Costs Application is Timely any Time Prior to Final Judgment

    In Carpenter v. Jack in the Box Corp., case no. B188707 (May 25, 2007) the Second District Court of Appeal holds that an application for anti-SLAPP attorney fees and costs under Code of Civil Procedure section 425.16(c) by a plaintiff who prevails against an anti-SLAPP motion is timely so long as it is made before entry of final judgment in the action, even if it is not made until after resolution of the appeal of the order denying the anti-SLAPP motion. Carpenter brought an action for wrongful termination, defamation, and other tort and contract claims related to the termination of employment by Jack in the Box.  Jack in the Box…

  • California Procedure,  Costs,  Post-Trial Practice

    Court Upholds $143,809 in Costs Awarded for Preparation of a Single Exhibit

    It sounds crazy in the abstract, not so much in the context of the case decided in the Fifth District of the California Court of Appeal, El Dorado Meat Co. v. Yosemite Meat and Locker Service, Inc., ___ Cal.Rptr.3d ___, case no. F049334 (May 4, 2007).  The court characterized the action as a “complex suit” in which plaintiff alleged a variety of business torts including antitrust, RICO and unfair competition claims. The single exhibit was actually “a 37-page document containing charts and graphs that were projected on a screen during trial” and was prepared from 160,000 pages of business and financial records produced by the parties in discovery.  The costs…