On 09/30/2015 B H filed an Other lawsuit against MANHATTAN BEACH UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT. This case was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Courts, Stanley Mosk Courthouse located in Los Angeles, California. The Judge overseeing this case is TERESA SANCHEZ-GORDON. The case status is Disposed - Judgment Entered.
Disposed - Judgment Entered
Los Angeles County Superior Courts
Stanley Mosk Courthouse
Los Angeles, California
HAALAND SOLANGE AND ERIC
DOES 1 THROUGH 100
MANHATTAN BEACH UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT
GREY & GREY
FAGEN FRIEDMAN & FULFROST LLP
1/20/2016: Minute Order
4/22/2016: SEPARATE STATEMENT OF UNDISPUTED FACTS IN SUPPORT OF PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT
4/22/2016: NOTICE OF MOTION AND MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT
5/17/2016: STIPULATION REGARDING SUMMARY JUDGMENT MOTION
6/8/2016: Minute Order
9/13/2016: REQUEST FOR DISMISSAL
10/4/2016: Minute Order
10/4/2016: DECLARATION OF LYNN BEEKMAN IN SUPPORT OF UNOPPOSED EX PARTE NOTICE AND APPLICATION FOR ORDER SHORTENING TIME AND TO SPECIALLY SET MOTION TO SUPPLEMENT THE ADMINISTRATIVE RECORD
10/4/2016: UNOPPOSED EX PARTE APPLICATION FOR ORDER SHORTENING TIME AND TO SPECIALLY SET MOTION TO SUPPLEMENT THE ADMINISTRATIVE RECORD
10/6/2016: DECLARATION OF LYNN BEEKMAN IN SUPPORT OF DEFENDANT?S OPPOSITION TO PLAINTIFFS? MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT
10/6/2016: DEFENDANT'S SEPARATE STATEMENT OF UNDISPUTED MATERIAL FACTS RE: SUMMARY JUDGMENT MOTION
10/6/2016: REQUEST FOR JUDICIAL NOTICE IN SUPPORT OF DEFENDANTS OPPOSITION TO PLAINTIFFS? MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT
10/11/2016: SUPPLEMENTAL PROOF OF SERVICE
10/13/2016: REPLY AND OBJECTIONS TO DEFENDANT'S SEPARATE STATEMENT
12/15/2016: Minute Order
1/18/2017: JUDGMENT IN FAVOR ANHATTAN BEACH UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT
4/11/2017: NOTICE OF FILING OF NOTICE OF APPEAL (UNLIMITED JURISDICTION)
4/14/2017: NOTICE OF ENTRY OF JUDGMENT OR ORDER
NOTICE OF FEES DUE FOR CLERK'S TRANSCRIPT ON APPEALRead MoreRead Less
Ntc to Prty re fee Clk's Transcpt; Filed by ClerkRead MoreRead Less
Notice of Designation of Record; Filed by AppellantRead MoreRead Less
NOTICE OF ENTRY OF JUDGMENT OR ORDERRead MoreRead Less
APPELLANTS NOTICE DESIGNATING RECORD ON APPEAL (UNLIMITED CIVIL CASE)Read MoreRead Less
Notice of Entry of Judgment; Filed by Manhattan Beach Unified School District (Defendant)Read MoreRead Less
Notice of Designation of Record; Filed by B.H. (Legacy Party)Read MoreRead Less
Ntc to Attorney re Notice of Appeal; Filed by ClerkRead MoreRead Less
NOTICE OF FILING OF NOTICE OF APPEAL (UNLIMITED JURISDICTION)Read MoreRead Less
Judgment; Filed by Manhattan Beach Unified School District (Defendant)Read MoreRead Less
Summons Issued; Filed by ClerkRead MoreRead Less
Summons; Filed by ClerkRead MoreRead Less
SUMMONSRead MoreRead Less
Ord Apptng Guardian Ad Litem; Filed by Plaintiff/PetitionerRead MoreRead Less
Notice of Case Management Conference; Filed by ClerkRead MoreRead Less
NOTICE OF CASE MANAGEMENT CONFERENCERead MoreRead Less
APPLICATION AND ORDER FOR APPOINTMENT OF GUARDIAN AD LITEMRead MoreRead Less
Application ; Filed by Plaintiff/PetitionerRead MoreRead Less
Complaint; Filed by Haaland, Solange and Eric (Plaintiff)Read MoreRead Less
COMPLAINT: I. REVERSAL OF ADMINISTRATIVE DECISION; ETCRead MoreRead Less
Case Number: BC593775 Hearing Date: August 07, 2020 Dept: 74
BC593775 B H vs MANHATTAN BEACH UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT
Plaintiffs’ Motion for Attorney’s Fees and Costs
TENTATIVE RULING: The motion is GRANTED IN PART. The court awards plaintffs attorney fees in the amount of $415.360.00
Generally, each party is responsible for their attorney fees unless a statute or contract provides otherwise for the prevailing party. (Eden Township Healthcare Dist. V. Eden Medical Center (2013) 220 Cal.App.4th 418, 425.) In determining which party is the prevailing party, trial courts may consider all factors reasonably indicating success in the litigation, but may not abuse their discretion and deny fees arbitrarily. (Sears v. Baccaglio (1998) 60 Cal.App.4th 1136, 1149, 1155, 1158.) A court abuses its discretion by denying fees where the party obtained a “‘simple, unqualified win,’” and the results were not mixed. (Pacific Custom Pools, Inc. v. Turner Construction Co. (2000) 79 Cal.App.4th 1254, 1268-1271.)
Plaintiff’s fully prevailed on their claim as the OAH ordered the payment of the family’s travel expenses and held Defendant responsible for the implementation of B.H.’s IEP. Plaintiffs are the prevailing parties.
“[T]he starting point of every fee award…must be a calculation of the attorney's services in terms of the time he has expended on the case. Anchoring the analysis to this concept is the only way of approaching the problem that can claim objectivity, a claim which is obviously vital to the prestige of the bar and the courts.” (In re Vitamin Cases (2003) 110 Cal. App. 4th 1041, 1058.) “[T]he primary method for establishing the amount of ‘reasonable’ attorney fees is the lodestar method. The lodestar (or touchstone) is produced by multiplying the number of hours reasonably expended by counsel by a reasonable hourly rate.” (Thayer v. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. (2001) 92 Cal. App.4th 819, 833.) Under this approach, a base amount is calculated from a compilation of time reasonably spent and reasonable hourly compensation of each attorney. (Serrano v. Unruh (1982) 32 Cal.3d 621, 639.) While “a fee request ordinarily should be documented in great detail,” the absence of time records and billing statements did not deprive the court of “substantial evidence” to support an award when the attorney provided a declaration under the penalty of perjury which described the work and permitted the trial court to make its own evaluation of the reasonableness of the work done in light of the nature of the case and on the credibility of counsel’s declaration. (Weber v. Langholz (1995) 39 Cal.App.4th 1578, 1587.)
Reasonableness of Hours
A party claiming attorney’s fees must submit detailed records of the hours that have been extended; however, the court may in its discretion reduce such hours if it determines the hours are inadequate, duplicative or the firm overstaffed the case. (Chalmers v. City of Los Angeles, (9th Cir. 1986) 796 F.2d 1205, 1210.)
Here, Plaintiffs’ counsel worked 755.2 hours on Plaintiffs matter and voluntarily reduced the number of hours by 90 to ensure the reasonableness of the hours spent. (Declaration of David Grey-Supplement dated March 20, 2020 “Decl. DG 20” p.1 ¶27; Motion for Attorney’s Fees “MAF” p.8 ¶ A.) Further Plaintiffs’ counsel served as counsel in the initial OAH hearing, the Superior Court proceeding and the Court of Appeal proceeding.
Upon review of the record and the issues raised in this litigation, the court determines time plaintiffs’ counsel spent on this case is reasonable.
Reasonableness of Hourly Rate
“Affidavits of the plaintiffs’ attorney and other attorneys regarding prevailing fees in the community, and rate determination in other cases, particularly those setting a rate for the plaintiffs' attorney, are satisfactory evidence of the prevailing market rate.” (Charlebois v. Angels Baseball LP, (9th Cir. 2012) 993 F. Supp. 2d 1109, 1118.)
Plaintiffs’ counsel has practiced law in California since December 1986. (Declaration of David Grey dated September 16, 2019 “Decl. DG 19” ¶1.) He cites comparable cases and the rate of attorneys of similar experience to establish his rate as reasonable. (Declaration of Richard M. Pearl ¶14; Decl. DG 19 ¶¶ 11-13.) Furthermore, Plaintiffs’ obtained its counsel on a contingency basis, which can warrant a modifier enhancement; however, Plaintiffs’ counsel has not requested such in its motion. (Decl. DG 20 ¶ 5.)
Upon review of the record and the evidence submitted in support of and in opposition to this motion, the court finds the reasonable hourly rate is $550.
Reduction of Fees
Defendant further argues the Courts should reduce the amount of attorney’s fees because it is a public agency.
“After determining the lodestar, the trial court may adjust the lodestar figure based on factors including, but not limited to (1) the novelty and difficulty of the questions involved, (2) the skill displayed in presenting them, (3) success or failure, (4) the extent to which the nature of the litigation precluded other employment by the attorneys, (5) the contingent nature of the fee award, (6) that an award against the state would ultimately fall upon the taxpayers, (7) that the attorneys in question received public and charitable funding for the purpose of bringing lawsuits of the character here involved, and (8) that the monies awarded would inure not to the individual benefit of the attorneys involved but the organizations by which they are employed.” (Glaviano v. Sacramento City Unified Sch. Dist., (Ct. App. 2018) 22 Cal. App. 5th 744, 751.)
Defendant argues a full award of attorney’s fees would fall upon taxpayers and represent a 12% budget deficit increase for the upcoming school year. (AOMA p. 6: 14-19.) The Defendant further argues an award so high will reduce the amount of money allowed for expenditures and is in addition to the amount already paid to Plaintiffs. (AOMA p. 6: 19-21.) Plaintiffs argue in reply, being a public entity does not warrant a reduction in attorney’s fees as attorney’s should never receive an award less than fair market value simply because the non-prevailing party is a governmental entity, and furthermore “would defeat the purpose of the private attorney general doctrine codified in Code of Civil Procedure section 1021.5 and would also incentivize governmental entities to negligently or deliberately run up a claimant's attorneys' fees, without any concern for consequences.” (Bldg. a Better Redondo, Inc. v. City of Redondo Beach, (2012) 203 Cal. App. 4th 852, 874–75.)
The court has considered all of the Glaviano factors and finds defendant has not carried its burden of proof to support a further reduction in fees awarded.
Case Number: BC593775 Hearing Date: February 20, 2020 Dept: 74
BC593775 B H ET AL VS MANHATTAN BEACH UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT
Defendant’s Motion to Continue Plaintiff’s Hearing on Attorney’s Fees Motion
TENTATIVE RULING: The motions is GRANTED. The hearing on the motion for fees is continued to April 23, 2020. Moving party to give notice.
There is good cause for a short continuance until a final judgment is rendered. The OAH has not provided its final determination of appropriate relief in addition to Parents’ recovery of travel-related expenses. Defendant states the final decision will be available next month. (Reply, 2:22-23.) The proposed timeline provided by Plaintiff for paper deadlines appears reasonable. Plaintiff proposed the following: “B.H. to have until March 24, 2020 to supplement his motion for prevailing party attorney’s fees. Manhattan Beach to have until April 7, 2020 to file any opposition, with B.H.’s reply due April 14, 2020. Hearing to be set for a convenient date shortly thereafter.” The Court finds this reasonable and the final decision should be provided by these dates. The motion is GRANTED. The hearing on the motion for fees is continued to April 23, 2020.
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