Legal Error To Deny Fees For Property Owners Facing Uncertain Offer.
Although this case involves fee-shifting under a specific eminent domain context, it really applies analogous uncertainty principles in civil contexts encountered daily by other California litigators.
City & County of San Francisco v. PCF Acquisition, LLC, Case No. A139836 (1st Dist., Div. 3 May 26, 2015) (published) squarely confronted a situation where a condemnor’s final pre-trial settlement offer, made 20 days before trial and contingent on approvals by other governmental entities, was reasonable for purposes of determining if the property owner was entitled to litigation expenses, which includes attorney’s fees, under Code of Civil Procedure section 1250.410.
Drum roll, please – answer: No. Condemnee should not have to accept such a contingent offer at the end of the case and be penalized for fee-shifting purposes.
So, the order denying property owner’s request for fees was reversed.