In Department of Fair Employment and Housing v. Mayr, 2011 DJDAR 2265 (2011), the California Court of Appeal for the Sixth Appellate District decided a unique attorney fee case in an alleged housing discrimination context.
The case involved the interplay between California Code of Civil Procedure Section 1028.5 (a statute which authorizes an attorney fee award in cases arising between small businesses and state regulatory agencies) and Government Code Section 12989.2(a) which allows attorney fees in housing discrimination cases but not for or against a government agency.
In June 2006, the Mendoza plaintiffs filed a complaint against the owner of their apartment and the property manager for alleged housing discrimination. The Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) joined the litigation as a plaintiff. The plaintiffs alleged that the defendants had discriminated against them based on their national origin.
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