Canyon View Limited v. Lakeview Loan Servicing, LLC (Aug. 30, 2022, B311313) 2022 WL 3754474

GMSR’s client sued a loan servicer for quiet title and related claims, alleging the loan servicer recorded documents that interfered with the client’s right under the Mobilehome Residency Law (MRL) to take free-and-clear title to property at a court-ordered sale.  The parties stipulated to a judgment in the client’s favor canceling the clouding documents.  In an initial appeal, the court determined that this kind of action is one “arising out of” the MRL, entitling GMSR’s client, as the prevailing party, to attorney fees and costs.  (Canyon View Ltd. v. Lakeview Loan Servicing, LLC (2019) 42 Cal.App.5th 1096.)

On remand, the trial court awarded GMSR’s client a quarter of the fees it requested.  Because the initial appeal was consolidated with three other cases to resolve the same legal issue, the trial court concluded the quartering approach would eliminate “potential overlap” with work performed in the other cases.

The Court of Appeal reversed, finding that “the court’s quartering approach was arbitrary in that it was not logically related to correcting the potential overlap that concerned the court.”  As the Court of Appeal found, while trial courts enjoy broad discretion in determining fee awards, a trial court abuses its discretion when it imposes across-the board reductions that are not tied to the number of supposedly non-compensable hours billed.

To read the Court of Appeal opinion, click HERE.

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