Private Attorney General Doctrine Authorizes Attorney Fees in a Political Dispute


In Wilson v. San Luis Obispo County Democratic Central Committee, 2011 DJDAR 2416 (2011), the California Court of Appeal for the Second District decided an interesting fee case arising from a political dispute.

The plaintiff in the Wilson case was an active member in the San Luis Obispo Democratic Committee. She was removed from her position after a negative vote of the other Committee members.

After being removed from office, she petitioned the Superior Court, seeking a writ of mandate ordering her reinstatement. The writ also sought to remove Committee members who allegedly were not properly elected to office. The trial court denied the petition, and the Committee moved for their attorney fees incurred pursuant to Code of Civil Procedure Section 1021.5. The fee request totaled $102,215. The trial court denied the fee petition in its entirety.

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