My partner, Gary Bresee, recently blogged on the recent Ninth Circuit decision in Padgett v. Loventhal, 2013 DAR 1933 (2013).
As Gary noted, in that case, the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit overruled the decision of trial judge James Ware, and remanded the case for further consideration. Judge Ware made significant reductions in the fees requested by the plaintiffs in a civil rights case without detailed explanation or computation of the reasons for reducing the attorney fee claim. The panel was critical of the reduction as the district judge slashed the fees and costs without any detailed description or supporting calculations for the reductions ordered.
The Ninth Circuit reversed the decision of the trial judge, noting that district courts must give reasons for declining to award costs and for reducing costs based on a partial victory.
Another key take away issue from the Ninth Circuit’s decision relates to public policy considerations relating to judicial economy. Judge Ware recently retired. Now a new judge will have to be assigned to the case to clarify the award and the basis therefore. A properly documented decision would have alleviated these additional burdens and costs.