Graham v. DaimlerChrysler Corp.
- Case Date: 11/10/2003
- Project Name: Reining in the Plaintiffs' Bar
On December 2, 2004, the California Supreme Court ruled 4-3 that a manufacturer should pay the legal fees of a consumer group that sued the manufacturer -- even though the consumer group never won a judgment in the case. A car manufacturer had, through an inadvertent misprint, misstated the car's towing capacity in its owners' manuals. The misprint was corrected three weeks later as soon as it was noticed, but not before the plaintiff filed suit for consumer fraud. Although the suit was quickly dismissed as moot, the plaintiff was awarded a huge fee. In a loss for WLF, the Supreme Court ruled that fees are awardable in such situations under a "catalyst" theory, so long as the lawsuit is not completely frivolous. But the court agreed with WLF that the $800,000 award was excessive, and it ordered the trial court to recompute the award.
More Information and Downloads:
Litigation Update: California Supreme Court Allows Attorney Fees Award To Activists