- posted: Aug. 20, 2021
A prevailing defendant on a special motion to strike under the anti-SLAPP statute is entitled to reasonable attorneys’ fees. An attorney may seek the reasonable hourly rate pursuant to the lodestar method – even where they accepted a reduced rate from their client. This often arises where the attorney is paid through an insurance company at negotiated and discounted rates.
In a recent decision, Pasternack v. McCullough (B302137), the Court of Appeal affirmed the lower court's ruling and awarded some attorneys at a law firm $600.00 an hour even though the law firm had been paid $140.00 per hour by their client's insurer. The trial court determined the market rate for defendant’s attorneys should be based on their experience and complexity of the case, instead of focusing on the “package rate” that defendant’s attorneys accepted from defendant’s insurer.
In awarding fees under CCP 425.16, the trial court did not err in using a market rate for the hourly rate rather than the discounted rate that defense attorneys charge high-volume insurance clients. This market rate approach has been applied in cases involving in-house counsel, contingency fees, and pro bono work.
See the recent decision at https://www.courts.ca.gov/opinions/documents/B302137.PDF
Garcia Hong Law has handled special motions to strike under the anti-SLAPP statute and recovered reasonable attorneys’ fees for their clients. We have represented our clients and brought special motions to strike on malicious prosecution, defamation, and libel claims. Each case is different. For more information, visit www.garciahonglaw.com
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