Monday, August 3, 2015

Not Really Pro Se

Law Offices of Marc Grossman v. Victor Elem. Sch. Dist., No. E059579 (D4d2 Jul. 21, 2015)

Generally speaking, an attorney representing himself pro se is not entitled a statutory or contractual award of attorney fees for his time spent successfully litigating a case. Here, an attorney named himself as plaintiff in a Public Records Act case that brought to obtain information for use in parallel tort case the attorney’s client had brought against a school. 

It doesn’t really matter who the plaintiff is in a PRA case and attorneys sometimes name themselves as plaintiffs for administrative convenience. After he won the PRA case on a writ reversing the trial court, on remand the trial court denied him a fee award under Gov’t Code § 6259(d) under the attorney pro se rule. The court of appeal reverses. Acting as if the client wasn’t actually representing the interests of his client in the PRA case would elevate form over substance.  Moreover, the writ already said that the attorney was entitled to an award of both costs and fees and the trial court should have followed the order.


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