Court of Appeal affirms trial court’s denial of petition to compel arbitration in multimillion dollar attorney fee case

City of Santa Monica v. Baron & Budd, et al. (2007) 2007 Cal.App. Unpub. LEXIS 5185 (California Court of Appeal, Second District, Division 1) [unpublished]. GMSR’s clients, a group of lawyers, represented the City of Santa Monica in a toxic contamination claim. After the lawyers achieved what the City called a “landmark” settlement with the oil company defendants, the City refused to pay their contingent fee and instead sued them. After litigating the fee claim for 17 months, the City sought to compel arbitration on the basis of facts that pre-dated the the lawsuit. The trial court denied the City’s motion. The Court of Appeal affirmed, accepting GMSR’s arguments that the City had waived whatever right it might have had to arbitrate.