Opposing a motion for attorney fees in California is the topic of this blog post.
Grounds for opposing a motion for attorney fees in California include that the fees requested are excessive, the motion fails to include sufficient information to determine the nature and extent of the services rendered and that the judgment entered was for $25,000 or less and could have been rendered in a limited civil case.
Deadline for opposing a motion for attorney fees in California.
The opposition to a motion for attorney fees in California should be served and filed at least nine (9) court days before the hearing. The opposition should be served by personal service or overnight mail under the provisions of Code of Civil Procedure section 1005.
If you have been served with a motion for attorney fees you should carefully review the motion and supporting documents as the California Courts of Appeal have stated that a party seeking an award of fees is not necessarily entitled to compensation for the value of attorney services for the full amount claimed. The trial court has the discretion to determine the number of hours that the attorney reasonably expended.
The party filing the motion for attorney fees has to meet their burden of showing that the fees incurred are authorized, that they were reasonably necessary to the conduct of the litigation, and that the requested attorney fees are reasonable in amount. Enough information must be provided in the motion so that the court can determine the nature and extent of the services rendered otherwise the court has the discretion to deny the motion.
Any request for attorney fees that appears to be excessive can be considered a special circumstance that allows the court to either reduce the award or deny the motion.
A court also has discretion to deny a motion for attorney fees if the judgment entered was for $25,000 or less and the case was filed as an unlimited civil case on the grounds that the judgment could have been rendered in a limited civil case under the provisions of Code of Civil Procedure § 1033(a).
Code of Civil Procedure § 1033(a) provides that: "In the superior court, costs or any portion of claimed costs shall be as determined by the court in its discretion in accordance with Section 1034 where the prevailing party recovers a judgment that could have been rendered in a court of lesser jurisdiction."
A California Court of Appeal stated in a published case that when making a determination whether the prevailing party recovered a judgment that could have been rendered in a court of lesser jurisdiction, the trial court does not add a potential award of statutory or contractual attorney's fees.
A well known California legal treatise has stated that Code of Civil Procedure § 1033(a) is a cost-shifting statute designed to encourage a plaintiff to pursue litigation in the appropriate forum, and to deter the plaintiff from exaggerating the value of a case. 2 Witkin, Cal. Procedure (4th ed. 1996) Jurisdiction, § 30, p. 576.
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Please note that the author of this blog post, Stan Burman is NOT an attorney and as such is unable to provide any specific legal advice. The author is NOT engaged in providing any legal, financial, or other professional services, and any information contained in this blog post is NOT intended to constitute legal advice.
The materials and information contained in this blog post have been prepared by Stan Burman for informational purposes only and are not legal advice. Transmission of the information contained in this blog post is not intended to create, and receipt does not constitute, any business relationship between the author and any readers. Readers should not act upon this information without seeking professional counsel.