Attorney Properly Rejects Attorney Fee Arbitration Award by Filing a Small Claims Action

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In Giorgianni v. Crowley, the California Court of Appeal for the Sixth District decided a novel question arising under the California Mandatory Fee Arbitration Act for attorney fees disputes.

An attorney, John Crowley (“Crowley”), represented Carrie Giorgianni (“Giorgianni”) in family law proceedings. Crowley was retained to enforce a judgment against her former husband. He billed Giorgianni over $77,000 for those efforts. Giorgianni paid over $69,000, and then requested fee arbitration, claiming that she had been overcharged. Crowley claimed that she owed him $11,000. After a hearing, the arbitrators awarded Giorgianni $29,714 in fees previously paid.

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