Attorney Fees Litigation

In an era of spiraling litigation costs, the recovery of attorney fees for a client – or resistance to a potential fee claim – can become a multi-million dollar challenge.  State and federal laws governing recovery of attorney fees, and the calculation of a reasonable amount, add layers of complexity and risk.  In some cases, where the law provides for fee shifting, attorney fees can even outstrip the amount at issue in the underlying litigation.  For over 30 years, GMSR’s appellate lawyers have counseled clients concerning fee claims, and successfully litigated fee issues, from trial courts to the California Supreme Court.

Colyear v. Rolling Hills Community Assn. of Rancho Palos Verdes (Apr. 23, 2018, B278198) 2018 WL 1905035 [nonpublished opinion]

The client owns property in Rolling Hills, a community subject to a patchwork of covenants, conditions, and restrictions.  The defendants—the community’s homeowners association and several of its board members—took the position that a tree-trimming covenant applied to every property in the community, including the client’s. 

Rice v. Downs (2016) 247 Cal.App.4th 1213

An LLC member brought suit alleging that another member (an attorney) had breached his fiduciary duty and committed legal malpractice.  The trial court ordered those claims to arbitration pursuant to an arbitration provision in the LLC’s operating agreement, which required arbitration of all claims “arising out of”

Dromy v. Assil (Dec. 22, 2015, B259489) 2015 WL 9311777 [nonpublished opinion]

In the trial on cross-actions arising from loan transactions, Mr. Poster’s client recovered $86,890.64 in damages and $371,814 in attorney fees and costs.  Adopting arguments urged by Mr. Poster, the Court of Appeal affirmed the judgment and ordered that his client recover additional attorney fees

May 23, 2011 Gary J. Wax Related Cases
Martinez v. Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (2011) 195 Cal.App.4th 1038

Plaintiff accepted a settlement offer under Code of Civil Procedure section 998 from GMSR’s client, Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority. The offer provided that each party bear its own costs, but said nothing about attorney fees. The trial court denied plaintiff’s subsequent motion for

Cruz-Carbajal v. Holder (9th Cir. 2011) 428 Fed.Appx. 759

Teaming up as pro bono counsel, husband and wife team Alana Rotter of GMSR and Jonathan Rotter of Kaye Scholer LLP argued that the Board of Immigration Appeals erroneously denied a motion for relief based on ineffective assistance of former counsel. The Ninth Circuit agreed,

City of Santa Monica v. Baron & Budd (June 26, 2007, B187425) 2007 WL 1821392 [nonpublished opinion]

Waiver of right to arbitrate through litigation conduct

PLCM Group v. Drexler (2000) 22 Cal.4th 1084

Over 1000 opinions have cited PLCM Group, in which Laurie established that companies represented by in-house counsel can recover contractual attorney fees, and that reasonable market rates control the award. 

Who We Serve


Whether on appeal, assisting trial counsel, or advising government officials contemplating legislative action, GMSR provides unique insight into the complex laws that impact public entities.

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Where coverage may exist, GMSR represents insureds on appeal effectively and efficiently. Where it does not, the firm protects insurers’ right to deny claims.

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GMSR offers corporate clients objective assessments on appeal, based on a deep understanding of the limitations and opportunities of appellate review.

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The firm’s lawyers are team players, collaborating with trial counsel at any level from legal strategy to writing or editing trial court motions and appellate briefs.

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GMSR vigorously advocates the rights of individual plaintiffs and defendants, in both state and federal appellate courts.

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As part of GMSR’s long-standing commitment to social justice and equality, GMSR provides pro bono appellate services to individuals and to community organizations on issues of concern.

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