Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Carpenter & Zuckerman v. Cohen (Cal. Ct. App. - May 10, 2011)

It's a neat trick.  But it doesn't work.

Party A files a lawsuit against Party B -- both A and B are law firms -- and Party B wins an anti-SLAPP motion dismissing the lawsuit.  Party A files an untimely appeal and Party B prevails.

Party B then moves for $33,000 in attorney's fees on appeal.  Party B knows that if it defends itself (remember: B is a law firm), it won't be entitled to fees.  That's the rule.  So Party B "hires" someone to defend it; namely, an associate at B.  B promises the associate that she'll get the fees if she wins.  That way B's lawyer is an "outside" entity, and B allegedly isn't defending itself.

The trial court says:  "No dice."  The Court of Appeal agrees.

The lesson being:  Hire a true outside lawyer to defend you on a contingency.  That way you'll get paid.

P.S. - For a little flavor:  Party A is "Personal Injury Solutions, Inc.," a law firm that apparently recently changed its name to "Adult Entertainment Law, Inc."  Hopefully that reflects a change in  the law firm's specialty.  (You'll be shocked to find out where the lawyer in charge of that firm -- Paul J. Cohen -- does business.  Van Nuys.  Whodathunk?"