Carpenter & Zuckerman v. Cohen: Law Firm Prevailing on Anti-SLAPP Motion Not Entitled to Award of Attorney’s Fees Where Firm’s Associate Was the Billing Attorney

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The California Court of Appeal (Second Appellate District, Division Five) recently ruled that the prevailing parties on an anti-SLAPP motion were not entitled to an award of attorney fees because the billing attorney had represented her own law firm as plaintiff. In this published opinion, the court dismissed the firm’s contention that the attorney in question was an independent contractor. The decision is Carpenter & Zuckerman v. Cohen (2011) 195 Cal. App. 4th 373.

After plaintiffs Carpenter & Zuckerman, LLP and its partners prevailed on their anti-SLAPP motion challenging a cross-complaint for defamation and interference with economic advantage, the trial court granted the losing party’s motion to tax costs on the ground that attorneys who represent themselves, or a law firm that represents itself, in litigation cannot recover attorney fees based on such representation.

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