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Category: Fees & Taxes / Tax Cases

CA Appeals Court Rejects Attorney Fees in Property Tax Case

January 5, 2021

A recent Law 360 story by Asha Glover, “Calf. Appeals Court Rejects Atty Fees for LA Theater in Tax Row” reports that a Los Angeles theater isn't entitled to attorney fees after successfully challenging its property taxes, a California appeals court said, overturning a decision from a lower court.  A lower California court erred in awarding attorney fees to Chinese Theatres LLC, a California appeals court said in a published decision.  The court rejected Chinese Theatre's argument that state law allows an award of attorney fees in any case where a court finds that the county board's findings are deficient or arbitrary, regardless of whether the court remands the measure to the local assessment appeals board with directions to make new findings.

The court said that Chinese Theatre's argument ignores an entire phrase of the statute requiring the case to be remanded and essentially asks the court to rewrite the statute.  The court rejected the theater company's contention that the Los Angeles County Assessment Appeals Board failed to make the finding that it was required to make.  The court pointed to the board's finding that half of the theater naming rights agreement granting the right to name the theater the TCL Chinese Theatre was an intangible asset — a finding that was one of the primary reasons the company filed the lawsuit.

The court also said that the lower court's sole purpose of remanding the case to the board was to excise the taxable value of the agreement from the property's assessment and to make necessary corrections to the tax roll.  The board did not need to make any new findings to explain how it valued the property once the revenue generated by the agreement was deducted from the tax assessment, according to the opinion.

The Nation’s Top Attorney Fee Experts of 2020

June 24, 2020

NALFA, a non-profit group, is building a worldwide network of attorney fee expertise. Our network includes members, faculty, and fellows with expertise on the reasonableness of attorney fees.  We help organize and recognize qualified attorney fee experts from across the U.S. and around the globe.  Our attorney fee experts also include court adjuncts such as bankruptcy fee examiners, special fee masters, and fee dispute neutrals.

Every year, we announce the nation's top attorney fee experts.  Attorney fee experts are retained by fee-seeking or fee-challenging parties in litigation to independently prove reasonable attorney fees and expenses in court or arbitration.  The following NALFA profile quotes are based on bio, CV, case summaries and case materials submitted to and verified by us.  Here are the nation's top attorney fee experts of 2020:

"The Nation's Top Attorney Fee Expert"
John D. O'Connor
O'Connor & Associates
San Francisco, CA
"Over 30 Years of Legal Fee Audit Expertise"
Andre E. Jardini
KPC Legal Audit Services, Inc.
Glendale, CA

"The Nation's Top Bankruptcy Fee Examiner"
Robert M. Fishman
Cozen O'Connor
Chicago, IL

"Widely Respected as an Attorney Fee Expert"
Elise S. Frejka
Frejka PLLC
New York, NY
"Experienced on Analyzing Fees, Billing Entries for Fee Awards"
Robert L. Kaufman
Woodruff Spradlin & Smart
Costa Mesa, CA

"Highly Skilled on a Range of Fee and Billing Issues"
Daniel M. White
White Amundson APC
San Diego, CA
"Extensive Expertise on Attorney Fee Matters in Common Fund Litigation"
Craig W. Smith
Robbins LLP
San Diego, CA
"Highly Experienced in Dealing with Fee Issues Arising in Complex Litigation"
Marc M. Seltzer
Susman Godfrey LLP
Los Angeles, CA

"Total Mastery in Resolving Complex Attorney Fee Disputes"
Peter K. Rosen
Los Angeles, CA
"Understands Fees, Funding, and Billing Issues in Cross Border Matters"
Glenn Newberry
Eversheds Sutherland
London, UK
"Solid Expertise with Fee and Billing Matters in Complex Litigation"
Bruce C. Fox
Obermayer Rebmann LLP
Pittsburgh, PA
"Excellent on Attorney Fee Issues in Florida"
Debra L. Feit
Stratford Law Group LLC
Fort Lauderdale, FL
"Nation's Top Scholar on Attorney Fees in Class Actions"
Brian T. Fitzpatrick
Vanderbilt Law School
Nashville, TN
"Great Leader in Analyzing Legal Bills for Insurers"
Richard Zujac
Liberty Mutual Insurance
Philadelphia, PA