Court holds attorney fees recoverable by attorney who was member of petitioner group in CEQA case

Healdsburg Citizens for Sustainable Solutions v. City of Healdsburg

June 4, 2012

A130374 (1st App., Div. 4)

The trial and appellate courts found that an attorney who helped litigate a CEQA action, in a case where she was a member of the petitioner citizens group, was entailed to recover attorneys’ fees under Civil Code section 1021.5. Even though the attorney had a personal stake in the outcome, she had also helped confer an important right affecting the public. Otherwise, generally an attorney cannot recover fees for work done for his or her own benefit; there must be fees “incurred” under a different statute. There are many equitable factors that may be relevant to the issue and amount, but there is now a growing body of law supporting recovery in circumstances similar to the present case.


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