ase Number: BC457999 Hearing Date: March 18, 2019 Dept: 48

MOTION FOR ATTORNEYS’ FEES ON APPEAL

MOVING PARTY: Defendant County of Los Angeles

RESPONDING PARTY(S): Plaintiff Joe Raseknia

PROOF OF SERVICE:

  • Correct Address: Yes.
  • 16/21: OK. Served by mail on October 5, 2018.
  • GRANT motion for attorney’s fees in the amount of $13,175.00.

ANALYSIS

Motion for Attorney’s Fees

Defendant County of Los Angeles moves for attorneys’ fees incurred on appeal pursuant to Gov. Code § 12965.

This motion appears to be related to the appeal from the Court’s entry of judgment for attorneys’ fees and costs in favor of Defendants Jimenez and the County and against Plaintiff. The Remittitur was filed on August 27, 2018. Defs’ Exh. R. In its unpublished opinion, the Court of appeal affirmed this Court’s order awarding attorney’s fees in the amount of $100,000.00. The Court of Appeal cited with approval this Court’s exercise of discretion in concluding that Plaintiff’s claims for discrimination and failure to prevent discrimination, harassment, and failure to accommodate were objectively without merit of foundation. Court of Appeal Opinion, Pages 6 – 7 (Def’s Exh. R). The Court of Appeal also found that this Court did not abuse its discretion as to the amount of the attorney’s fees award.

Because the judgment in favor of Defendants was affirmed without modification, they are the prevailing parties on appeal for purposes of attorney’s fees. Notably, even where the appellate court orders that the parties are to bear their own costs on appeal, this would not preclude Defendants from seeking attorney’s fees incurred on appeal. Butler-Rupp v. Lourdeaux (2007) 154 Cal.App.4th 918, 925-29.

As this Court has already found that Plaintiff’s claims were unreasonable, frivolous and wholly lacking in merit in granting Defendant County’s motion for attorney’s fees incurred at the trial court level, the Court incorporates its discussion as set forth in the January 12, 2016 ruling and minute order. For those same reasons, Defendant County is entitled to recover attorney’s fees incurred on appeal pursuant to Gov. Code § 12965. Plaintiff does not cite any authority whereby this Court must find that the appeal itself was unreasonable, frivolous or wholly lacking in merit when the employer is the prevailing party on appeal.

The Court finds the hourly rate of $155.00 actually billed and the 85 hours as to which reimbursement is requested for work on appeal to be reasonable, for a total amount of $13,175.00. See Declaration of Gil Burkwitz, Esq., ¶¶ 21, 25. The Court declines to apply any multiplier to the lodestar amount. As the Court of Appeal recognized, the Court has already determined that Plaintiff’s financial ability to pay attorney’s fees would not preclude an award of this amount. See Court of Appeal opinion, Page 4.

Accordingly, the motion for attorney’s fees incurred on appeal is GRANTED in the amount of $13,175.00.