Fee Award is Overturned Where Trial Court Failed to Consider the Question of Settlement Effort


In Environmental Protection Information Center v. California Dept. of Forestry and Fire Protection, 2010 DJDAR 17530 (2010), the First District Court of Appeal decided a novel question pertaining to the proper interpretation of California Code of Civil Procedure § 1021.5, the private attorney general doctrine.

The case arises from a long-running legal dispute surrounding the administrative approval of logging plans issued to Pacific Lumber by California’s Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (“CDF”).

The Environmental Protection Information Center (“EPIC”) prevailed at trial in litigation filed against the CDF and the Department of Fish and Game (“DFG”) (collectively, the Agencies). The suit pertained to the approval of Timber Harvesting Plans (“THPs”).

The trial court awarded EPIC attorney fees pursuant to CCP § 1021.5. The court ruled that EPIC was the prevailing party and that the actions of the group conferred a significant benefit on the general public.

The decision was reviewed by the intermediate appellate court and California Supreme Court. The appellate court reversed the trial court’s judgment, and the Supreme Court affirmed most of the rulings of the court of appeal. This included the dismissal of nearly all of EPIC’s environmental positions. The court did reverse on procedural issues relating to the approval of timber harvest plans. The Agencies then argued that in light of the outcome of the appeals, EPIC was no longer entitled to attorney fees.

The court of appeal reversed and remanded the decision of the trial court.

Please see full article below for more information.

LOADING PDF: If there are any problems, click here to download the file.

Written by:


Hinshaw & Culbertson LLP on:

JD Supra Readers' Choice 2016 Awards
Reporters on Deadline

"My best business intelligence, in one easy email…"

Your first step to building a free, personalized, morning email brief covering pertinent authors and topics on JD Supra:

Sign up to create your digest using LinkedIn*

*By using the service, you signify your acceptance of JD Supra's Privacy Policy.

Already signed up? Log in here

*With LinkedIn, you don't need to create a separate login to manage your free JD Supra account, and we can make suggestions based on your needs and interests. We will not post anything on LinkedIn in your name. Or, sign up using your email address.