A recent article in the State Bar of California’s California Litigation, “When the American Rule Doesn’t Apply: Attorney’s Fees as Damages in California Litigation (pdf),” by Marc Alexander and William (Mike) Hensley looks at attorney fees in the context of damages in California litigation.
The article discusses three judicially created exceptions under California law to the American Rule: The “tort of another” doctrine, Brandt recovery, and damage recovery in malicious prosecution/false imprisonment cases. Where these exceptions apply, prevailing parties can be made whole by being compensated for attorney’s fees – but the relief, rather than being treated as fees, per se, is given as an item of damages.
Marc Alexander and William (Mike) Hensley are shareholders at Alvarado Smith in Santa Ana. They run California Attorney’s Fees Blog located at www.calattorneysfees.com