California: Renewed Motion for Attorney Fees Properly Denied When Correct Authority Not Diligently Raised
The state first filed for attorney fees under a state-law provision authorizing defendants to recover after prevailing on dispositive motions under the Claims Act. While acknowledging that a motion for summary judgment is a “dispositive motion,” the trial court held that CCPOA’ s § 1983 (federal) claim was not subject to the (state) Claims Act.
Months later, the State moved for attorney fees pursuant to the federal Civil Rights Attorney’s Fees Awards Act of 1976 (42 U.S.C. § 1988(b)). The trial court denied that motion too, reasoning that the State could not seek the same relief under a different statute (after having been previously denied).
The state appealed. The Court of Appeal affirmed the trial court’s rulings. With respect to the second motion, it held that the state should have advanced all correct legal theories for an award of attorney fees in its original motion, “so as not to burden the trial court with repeated motions for the same relief.” In the absence of a sufficient explanation for having failed to rely on the federal statute in the first place, the trial court did not abuse its discretion in denying the requested relief. See: California Correctional Peace Officers Assn. v. Virga, (2010)181 Cal.App.4th 30.
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|Cite||181 Cal.App.4th 30 (2010)|
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