Gonzalez v. Santa Clara County Department of Social Services

The trial court abused its discretion in denying fees to three of plaintiff’s four lawyers because their time records were not properly authenticated, an objection the defendant did not raise.  The trial court abused its discretion in refusing to award any attorney fees to three of the four lawyers who successively represented plaintiff in her ultimately successful challenge to being listed on an index of child abusers simply because she had spanked her daughter with a wooden spoon.  The fee motion was poorly supported by the declaration of only the last of the four lawyers, which attached but could not authenticate the time records of the other three lawyers.  However, the defendant didn’t object to the lack of authentication and there was no reason to question the time records’ accuracy, so the trial court erred in raising an authentication objection sua sponte.

California Court of Appeal, Sixth District (Rushing, P.J.); February 28, 2017; 2017 WL 781551


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