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New CA Attorney Fee Case

attorney fees Jul 06, 2022

To do the best job possible as a mediator, arbitrator and referee, I keep up with and summarize the new published California civil cases. In this blog I discuss a new civil case that was published last month. 

Attorney Fees

Attorney fees are near and dear to California attorneys in many areas of the law. New California cases are constantly deciding when, and how much, attorneys can recover if they prevail in a case for their client. Last month, the Sixth District Court of Appeal published a new case addressing whether trial courts have equitable authority, or authority under Probate Code section 15642, to order an unsuccessful party in a trust case to pay attorney fees in excess of their potential trust interest. A video discussing the case is above and my summary of the case is below.

New Attorney Fee Decision  

Bruno v. Hopkins (2022) _ Cal.App.5th _ , 2022 WL 2128067: The Court of Appeal affirmed the trial court's judgment for defendants, following a bench trial, concluding that trust instruments were not forged as alleged by plaintiff, and awarding defendants attorney fees of over $829,000 and costs of over $96,000. Plaintiff appealed the attorney fee award. Based upon Pizarro v. Reynoso (2017) 10 Cal.App.5th 172, the Court of Appeal concluded that the trial court lacked authority under equity to impose attorney fees and costs. However, under Probate Code section 15642(d), the trial court had jurisdiction to impose personal liability on plaintiff for the attorney fees and costs incurred by defendants, such that it was authorized to order plaintiff to pay an amount in excess of her potential interest in the trust, and substantial evidence supported the award under section 15642(d). (C.A. 6th, June 13, 2022.)


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I help attorneys and their clients as a mediator, arbitrator and referee with ADR Services, Inc. I handle cases in the areas of business, commercial, employment, insurance bad faith, insurance coverage, land use, landlord-tenant (commercial and residential), legal malpractice, medical malpractice, personal injury, real property and wrongful death. I also keep up with the new civil case law published in California. I offer Zoom services throughout California and also in-person services. I've been a California civil trial lawyer since 1980 and a member of ABOTA since 1995. I've represented both plaintiffs and defendants in a wide variety of civil cases including the areas listed above. If you'd like to work with me, please contact my case manager at ADR services, Haward Cho, [email protected], (213) 683-1600.  

California Case Summaries™

Since 2012, I've helped many California lawyers easily keep up with the new case law in their practice areas by publishing California Case Summaries™ with short summaries (one paragraph), organized by legal topic, of every new CA civil case published in monthly, quarterly and annual subscription editions. My publications are available to a limited number of subscribers, giving them a competitive advantage, and are periodically opened to new subscribers. Subscribers save time, win more, and make more money.
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Until my next blog post, stay safe and healthy.

Best regards,
Monty A. McIntyre, Esq.
Mediator, Arbitrator & Referee
California Case Summaries™
CA Civil Trial Attorney Since 1980
ABOTA Member Since 1995
Past President San Diego County Bar Assn., SD ABOTA Chapter
Phone: (619) 990-4312. Email: [email protected]

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