New CA Attorney Fee Case

attorney fees Jul 06, 2022
I've been a California civil trial lawyer since 1980, a member of the American Board of Trial Advocates since 1995, and I've been listed in The Best Lawyers in America since 2012. I still take a select few cases in the areas of business, insurance bad faith, personal injury, real property and wrongful death.
For many years I've provided mentoring to many less experienced California lawyers. Unlike when I started practicing in 1980, today very few new lawyers get mentoring to help them learn how to practice law the right way. To address this need, I've created Lawyer Master Mentoring™ to help lawyers throughout the U.S. learn how to practice law and create their dream civil law practices. 

To be the best lawyer that I can be, I keep up with the new California civil case law. A great way for lawyers to improve their organization and systems and results is to find a case summary subscription service, like my California Case Summaries™, to enable them to save time while easily keeping up with the new cases in their practice areas, to win more and make more money. 
To get my free summaries of the 22 new civil cases published by the California Supreme Court in 2021, click here.

Below is a discussion of a new CA civil case published last month.

Attorney Fees

Attorney fees are near and dear to California attorneys in many areas of the law. New California cases are constantly deciding when, and how much, attorneys can recover if they prevail in a case for their client. Last month, the Sixth District Court of Appeal published a new case addressing whether trial courts have equitable authority, or authority under Probate Code section 15642, to order an unsuccessful party in a trust case to pay attorney fees in excess of their potential trust interest. A video discussing the case is above and my summary of the case is below.

New Attorney Fee Decision  

Bruno v. Hopkins (2022) _ Cal.App.5th _ , 2022 WL 2128067: The Court of Appeal affirmed the trial court's judgment for defendants, following a bench trial, concluding that trust instruments were not forged as alleged by plaintiff, and awarding defendants attorney fees of over $829,000 and costs of over $96,000. Plaintiff appealed the attorney fee award. Based upon Pizarro v. Reynoso (2017) 10 Cal.App.5th 172, the Court of Appeal concluded that the trial court lacked authority under equity to impose attorney fees and costs. However, under Probate Code section 15642(d), the trial court had jurisdiction to impose personal liability on plaintiff for the attorney fees and costs incurred by defendants, such that it was authorized to order plaintiff to pay an amount in excess of her potential interest in the trust, and substantial evidence supported the award under section 15642(d). (C.A. 6th, June 13, 2022.) 


Lawyer Master Mentoring Services

Lawyers (whether new or experienced) can rapidly create their dream law practices with the help of a master mentor who can help them think deeply, focus on what is essential, avoid distractions, develop their skills, avoid mistakes, answer their questions, and continuously improve their organization and systems. I offer an online video course and individual sessions to provide this much needed master mentoring to attorneys. For my lawyer master mentoring services visit my website at, email me at [email protected], or call me at (619) 990-4312.

Civil Litigation Services

I take a limited number of civil cases and represent plaintiffs or defendants in business, insurance bad faith, personal injury, real property and wrongful death actions. I use my experience as a California civil trial lawyer since 1980, a member of the American Board of Trial Advocates since 1995, I've been listed each year since 2012 in The Best Attorneys in America, and I work hard to attempt to get each client the best possible result. My clients get the benefit of big firm experience with small firm attention and reasonable rates. For my civil litigation services visit my website at, email me at [email protected], or call me at (619) 990-4312.

Mediation, Arbitration and Referee Services

I also help attorneys and their clients by serving as a mediator, arbitrator and referee with ADR Services, Inc. I handle cases in the areas of business, commercial, employment, insurance bad faith, insurance coverage, land use, landlord-tenant (commercial and residential), legal malpractice, medical malpractice, personal injury, real property and wrongful death. I also keep up with the new civil case law published in California. I offer Zoom services throughout California and also in-person services. I've been a California civil trial lawyer since 1980 and a member of ABOTA since 1995. I've represented both plaintiffs and defendants in a wide variety of civil cases including the areas listed above. If you'd like to work with me, please contact my case manager at ADR services, Haward Cho, [email protected], (213) 683-1600.  

Until my next blog post, stay safe and healthy.

Best regards,
Monty A. McIntyre, Esq.
Lawyer Master Mentoring™
Civil Trial Attorney  
Mediator, Arbitrator & Referee
California Case Summaries™
CA Civil Trial Attorney Since 1980
ABOTA Member Since 1995
Past President San Diego County Bar Assn., SD ABOTA Chapter
Phone: (619) 990-4312. Email: [email protected] 


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