Walent v. Commission on Professional Competence

Unless it expressly provides otherwise, a statute granting a right to an attorney fee award contemplates a fee calculated by the lodestar method, whether or not the party seeking the fee award was personally liable to pay the attorney.  Unless it otherwise provides, a statute granting a right to an attorney fee award contemplates a fee calculated by the lodestar method.  Here, Education Code 44944(f) did not provide otherwise by allowing an award of “reasonable attorney fees incurred by the employee.”  “Incurred” did not mean “actually incurred” and the court could not add “actually” to the statutory text.  Thus, the attorney fee award was calculated by the lodestar method even though the employee incurred no personal liability for the fees of the attorney who had represented him.

California Court of Appeal, Second District, Division 7 (Zelon, J.); February 21, 2017 (published March 13, 2017); 2017 WL 970481

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