Attorney's Fees Appeals

News & Analysis as of

Kirtsaeng II: Fees in Copyright Cases Depends on Reasonableness of Litigation Position

In Depth - Under 17 USC § 505, a “court may … award a reasonable attorney’s fee to the prevailing party.” However, when deciding whether to award attorneys’ fees under the Copyright Act’s fee-shifting provision, 17 USC...more

Supreme Court Injects Uncertainty Into Attorney’s Fee Awards in Copyright Cases

The day after it liberalized the standard for awarding enhanced damages in patent cases, a unanimous Supreme Court, in an opinion authored by Justice Kagan, substantially broadened lower courts’ discretion in granting...more

Bad Faith Attorneys’ Fees Are Compensatory Damages in Determining Cap On Punitive Damages

On June 9, 2016, the California Supreme Court ruled in Nickerson v. Stonebridge Life Ins. Co., __ Cal.4th ___ (2016) that the attorneys’ fees awarded to a veteran who sued for benefits under a “hospital stay” policy should be...more

The Effect of Alice on Attorneys' Fees Motions

Software patent litigation can often involve non-practicing entities (“NPEs”) and other plaintiffs that some have accused of asserting weak patents to extract royalties. It is no surprise, then, that defendants move for...more

Workers' Comp Plaintiff Attorneys Might Be Getting a Bigger Payday in Florida

On April 20, 2016, the 1st District Court of Appeals fired the most significant shot in years at controversial attorney fee restrictions in Florida. In 2003, the Florida State Workers' Compensation Statute placed strict...more

Appellate Court Notes

Supreme Court Advance Release Opinions: SC19384 - State v. Carter - SC19282 - State v. Peeler - Appellate Court Advance Release Opinions: AC37262 - Dumbauld v. Dumbauld - AC37262 Concurrence -...more

Second Circuit Finds that Barclay’s Bought Lehman’s Assets Free and Clear of FirstBank’s Claims

On March 29, 2016, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that FirstBank Puerto Rico (“FirstBank”) could not recover from Barclays Capital Inc. (“Barclays”) the securities (“Securities”) pledged by it, in connection with a...more

Double Counting and Inflexibility Are Unreasonable in 4A Negotiations Says Mass. Appeals Court: Court Affirms Award of Attorneys’...

Seeking 80 percent of remedial costs from each of two potentially responsible parties and “inflexibility” in pre-litigation negotiations are sufficiently unreasonable to trigger attorneys’ fees under the Massachusetts cleanup...more

Attorneys’ Fee Award Cannot Be Enhanced to Deter Misconduct (Lumen View Technology, LLC v. Findthebest.com, Inc.)

Addressing whether deterrence can play a role in an attorneys’ fee award under § 285, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit held that once a case is deemed exceptional, § 285 only authorizes an award of reasonable...more

Dismissal but No Fees for Innocent BitTorrent Defendant - Killer Joe Nevada, LLC v. Leaverton

Addressing whether a copyright infringement action based solely on IP addresses is frivolous or unreasonable, such that attorneys’ fees should be awarded upon dismissal, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit...more

Illinois Appellate Court Upholds Finding of Consumer Fraud Act Violation in Sales Tax Overcollection Case

The Illinois Appellate Court recently affirmed a finding for a plaintiff individual, upholding the circuit court’s conclusion that defendant Sears, Roebuck and Co. (Sears) violated the Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business...more

Supreme Court Agrees to Review EEOC's Obligation to Pay Employer's Attorneys Fees

Over the past several years, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has taken a decidedly more aggressive position with regard to litigation against employers accused of discrimination. The EEOC has brought a number of...more

This Year's Most Memorable Opinion Openers

Appellate courts tend to avoid broadly sweeping language in their opinions. And rightly so, as appellate opinions are meant to bring clarity to a muddled issue or area of law, not to gloss over the finer points with well-worn...more

When Does a Defendant Have Standing to Challenge an Attorney Fee Award?

The class action has settled. There is a possibility that a portion of the settlement fund, if otherwise unclaimed, will ultimately revert to the defendant. Does this possibility give the defendant standing to object to class...more

Appellate Court Notes

Appellate Court Advance Release Opinions: Released after 11:30 a.m. AC36320 - Valencis v. Nyberg - This decision upheld the granting of a PJR for ~ $1.5 million in favor of the plaintiff property owner when the...more

Court Finds School District May Have Violated Disabled Student’s Civil Rights

In T.B., et al. v. San Diego Unified School District (No. 12-56060, Amended 11/19/15), the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit held that a reasonable jury could find the San Diego Unified School District...more

A Contractual Attorney Fee Provision Cannot Override the Statutory Cap on Attorney Fees in a Small Claims Appeal

Michael Dorsey v. The Superior Court of San Diego (Crosier) - Court of Appeal, Fourth Appellate District (October 22, 2015) - Small Claims Court exists so those with meritorious claims under $10,000 can have their...more

Third Circuit Court of Appeals Affirms Appointment of Special Master for Discovery Matters (3rd Circuit)

Glover v. Wells Fargo Home Mortg., 2015 WL 5947812 (3d Cir. Oct. 14, 2015) - In this appellate case, the court affirmed the district court’s appointment of a special master to supervise discovery, as well as the...more

North Carolina Court Rules Class Action Settlements Can Award Attorneys’ Fees, but Note of Caution to Local Counsel

The North Carolina Court of Appeals considered for the first time whether it is legal in a class action settlement agreement for one party to agree to pay the other’s attorneys’ fees and expenses. The court concluded that it...more

A Case to Watch: Highway Contractor Appeals $663M False Claims Act Judgment

On August 31, 2015, highway contractors Trinity Industries, Inc. and Trinity Highway Products, LLC (collectively, Trinity) appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit a $663,360,750 final judgment entered...more

Can I Get My Legal Fees Back for Having to Defend This Case?

One of the most common questions I get from my clients is whether they can recover their legal expenses for having to defend a meritless case. The short answer is that in most cases, no. That may seem unfair, especially...more

Leading Cases on Chapter 93A

Nearly all business disputes in Massachusetts are governed by Chapter 93A. The winning plaintiff under Chapter 93A is entitled to an automatic award of its attorney's fees, and may be awarded up to three times its actual...more

Settlement – Recovering Costs Under CCP § 998 – Multiple Defendants’ Settlement Offer

Brian Kahn v. The Dewey Group, et al. - California Court of Appeal, Second Appellate District (September 8, 2015) - Code of Civil Procedure section 998 (§ 998) is a tool that allows litigants to further settlement...more

DOL Gets Reined In - Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals says the agency pushed too far in worker misclassification case

As most employers know, the United States Department of Labor (DOL), along with many other federal and state agencies such as the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, has focused on pursuing employers for misclassifying...more

Attorneys Fees Under California’s Prompt Payment Statutes. Contractor’s “Win” Fails the Sniff Test

This past month, the California Court of Appeals for the Third District, in  James L. Harris Painting & Decorating, Inc. v. West Bay Builders, Inc., Case No. C072169 (August 27, 2015), handed down a decision in a construction...more

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