Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Concepcion v. Amscan Holdings (Cal. Ct. App. - Feb. 18, 2014)

Days after the California Supreme Court held that it's illegal to record ZIP codes on credit card receipts, a variety of law firms filed duplicative class actions that alleged that Party City did so.

Plaintiffs took no discovery.  There was no motion for class certification.  At a one-day mediation, the parties settled for coupons to the class, and the lawyers sought $350,000 in fees.

Plaintiffs' attorneys generally described their activities, but did not submit time sheets.  The trial court thought the amount of work was high given the nature of the litigation, but permitted plaintiffs to submit their detailed time sheets in camera, without production to the other side, in order to justify the requested fee.  After plaintiffs did so, the trial court changed its mind, and awarded the full amount of the requested fees.

You can't do that.

Parties generally get to see what the other side submits.  That way we can have a fair evaluation of the evidence.  If you want to rely on time sheets to justify your fee, you've got to produce them to the other side.  Not just to the court.