Friday, April 8, 2016

Scapels and Sledgehammers

Mountjoy v. Bank of America, No. C077283 (D3 Feb. 29, 2016)

Although trial courts get a lot of deference in fee award decisions, that deference is not unlimited. The court here decided that 70 percent of the entries in plaintiff’s bills were problematic in one way or another. So it just lopped 70 percent off the total hours when it did its lodestar analysis, even though there was no evidence that the allegedly problematic entries made up 70 percent of the time. Although the Court of Appeal rejects most of plaintiff’s specific assertions of error, it finds the 70 percent across-the-board reduction to be arbitrary and thus an abuse of discretion.
 

Reversed.

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