A federal appellate court this week upheld an attorney-fee award of nearly $700,000 to a California employee who won less than $28,000 in damages in a lawsuit alleging wrongful demotion. According to the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Muniz v. United Parcel Service, Inc., Case No. 11-17282, the trial court was not required to reduce the large disparity between the damages and the fees.
On December 17, 2012, the California Supreme Court issued its decision in Jankey v. Lee. The Court ruled that prevailing defendants in disability access cases brought under both the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) and California Civil Code section 55 are entitled to their attorney’s fees just like prevailing plaintiffs are. The issue was vehemently disputed between that segment of the plaintiff’s bar that specializes in “shake-down” disability access lawsuits, and the California business community.