1021.5 Fees — You Need to Ask for Findings!

In the continuing saga of Vasquez v. California, concerning the state’s compliance with prison wages as required by Proposition 139, Vasquez has again been successful in winning fees for post-judgment enforcement activities.  In this appeal, the court rejects the state’s argument that the trial court ruling is not supported by appropriate findings:

 “The State also complains that the court did not make the proper findings on the record under section 1021.5 before awarding Vasquez attorney fees. Where, however, the court was not asked to make findings on factual issues and did not do so, we must infer all findings necessary to support the order on fees and uphold it if it is based on substantial evidence.”

Another portion of the Vasquez case currently before the California Supreme Court will be of great interest to attorneys who rely on fees under Section 1021.5.  In that case, the court will be deciding how far to extend its ruling in Graham v. Daimler-Chrysler, requiring a pre-litigation settlement offer in order to recoup attorney fees in certain instances.

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