The California Blog of Appeal has a detailed post on Cruz v. Ayromloo, ___ Cal.App.4th ___ (Oct. 3, 2007) (Second Appellate District, Division Seven), which is an interesting attorneys' fees case. There, the Court of Appeal affirmed a fees award in a pro bono matter, holding (in dicta, due to the prevailing party's failure to cross-appeal from the order fixing the amount of fees) that that there is no authority for reducing the lodestar simply because the case was taken on a pro bono basis: "We do not find it self-evident a law firm’s commendable willingness to provide its services on a pro bono basis to low income clients should necessarily justify a diminishment in the fee award when that pro bono representation proves successful. .... [O]ur research uncovered no case in which a trial court reduced a fee award simply because of the 'pro bono type of work' involved." Slip op. at 9 (footnote omitted).
And California Appellate Report has a post on Nichols v. City of Taft, ___ Cal.App.4th ___ (Oct. 2, 2007) (Fifth Appellate District), another attorneys' fees case. This case involves attorneys' fees sought by "members of a large out-of-town law firm with offices in Los Angeles and San Francisco, [whose] usual fees [are] considerably higher than would be charged in the local Kern County area." Slip op. at 2. The Court of Appeal held that applying a lodestar multiplier is not mandatory, but rather discretionary, and that the trial court erred by concluding that it was required to apply a multiplier. Id. at 7-10 (citing Ketchum v. Moses, 24 Cal.4th 1122, 1133 (2001)). The Court also held that "[u]se of a fee multiplier to compensate for the higher rates of out-of-town counsel requires a sufficient showing -- which plaintiff failed to make in this case -- that hiring local counsel was impracticable." Id. at 12.