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Attorneys

Court of Appeal Affirms Trial Court Award of “Bad Faith” Attorney’s Fees

May 19 2014

By Charles Post

Readers of this blog may recall our discussion of a “bad faith” attorney’s fees award made by the trial court in the Aerotek v. The Johnson Group case.   To view a copy of our previous post, click here.  As a refresher, Aerotek sued its former employee and that former employer’s new employer claiming misappropriation of trade secrets.  Aerotek lost.  The trial court awarded $735,781.27 in attorney’s fees to defendants under Cal. Civil Code section 3426.4.  That section provides attorney’s fees to a prevailing party in a Uniform Trade Secrets Action “if a claim of misappropriation is made in bad faith.”  Aerotek appealed, challenging the attorney’s fee award on the grounds that the action was neither (1) objectively specious nor brought in subjective bad faith as required for fees awarded under Cal. Civil Code section 3426.4; and (2) the lodestar multiplier used by the trial court was based on the misrepresentation by the law firm.

In a decision that contains lots of useful insights into how trial courts and courts of appeal view such “bad faith” attorney’s fees awards, the court of appeal affirmed the trial court.  The decision is unpublished.  That means that regardless of the value of the insights contained in the decision, it cannot be cited as precedent in future cases.   To read a fully copy of the decision, click on this link: Aerotek v The Johnson Group.