Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Everybody Wins!

Sharif v. Mehusa, Inc., No. B255578 (D2d5 Oct. 14, 2015)

An employee brought two different kinds of claims against her employer: claims under the Equal Pay Act, and wage-and-hour claims under the Labor Code. At a jury trial, she prevailed on the former but not the latter.  Both sets of statutes specifically award costs and fees to prevailing parties. Plaintiff contended that since she won a net monetary victory, she was the overall prevailing party and thus only her fees were recoverable. But the trial court disagreed and the court of appeal affirms. The claims weren’t factually related. And since both statutes shifted fees in favor of the prevailing party, both parties were entitled to recover their costs and fees on the parts of the case they prevailed on. When there statute-specific fee provisions, Code of Civil Procedure § 1032’s more general definitions of prevailing party—which look to who got a net monetary recovery—don’t apply.


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