Despite the “American Rule”, which generally requires parties to litigation to bear their own attorneys’ fees (see CCP §1021), successful California litigants and their attorneys frequently have an opportunity to recover reasonable attorneys’ fees as part of the relief obtained in their cases. Indeed, given the high cost of litigation, in many cases those fee recoveries often significantly exceed the damages recovered. Whether court-awarded attorneys’ fees are potentially recoverable in an action is, therefore a vitally important consideration in determining whether to file an action, which claims to assert, how aggressively to prosecute or defend the action, and whether and how to settle, litigate, or appeal the judgment. It is also important to recognize that there are significant differences between fees claimed under California law as opposed to those authorized by federal law, as well as differences in claims made in California state courts as opposed to those claimed in federal court.
This course will address the basics of attorneys’ fee law in California: 1) in what types of actions are prevailing parties entitled to recover fee; 2) what makes a party the “prevailing party”; 3) what a “reasonable” attorneys’ fee is, including “reasonable” hourly rates, “reasonable” hours expended, and lodestar “multipliers”, as well as how and when are fees are claimed and defended.
Richard M. Pearl is the Principal of the Law Offices of Richard M. Pearl in Berkeley, California. He received his J.D. degree from Boalt Hall School of Law in Berkeley in 1969 and was admitted to both the Georgia and California State Bars in 1970.
For the past twenty-five years, his practice has focused on cases involving reasonable attorneys’ fees, either court-awarded or at issue in attorney-client disputes. He is the author of California Attorney Fee Awards, 3d Ed., published by California’s Continuing Education of the Bar in 2010, and updated annually. As an expert witness on fees, his testimony has been accepted by numerous courts and arbitrators. He also has been counsel in many of the leading appellate cases on attorneys’ fees in both the California and federal courts, including Flannery v. Prentice, 26 Cal.4th 572 (2001), Graham v. DaimlerChrylser Corp., 34 Cal.4th 553 (2004) and Davis v. City & County of San Francisco 976 F.2d 1536 (9th Cir. 1992), Mangold v. Public Utilities Commn., 67 F.3d 1470 (9th Cir. 1995), and Camacho v. Bridgeport Financial, Inc., 523 F.3d 973 (9th Cir. 2008).
One of the best presentations I have seen on Lawline and I have seen many!! Excellent overall program packed with useful information