January 30, 2014 – California appellate court unpublished decision.
A homeowners association sued a homeowner regarding maintenance of his property and related issues. The association prevailed and was awarded $160,000 in attorney fees and $7,213 in costs as the prevailing party. The association originally sought approximately $240,000 in fees. The court calculated the fee award based on hourly charges of $185.00 even though the association’s attorney’s billing rate was $220-$240 per hour. The court also denied the association’s request for pre-litigation fees of $10,199. Even if the HOA collects the $160,000 from the homeowner, it is still $80,000 less than it incurred in bringing the case against the homeowner. Thus, the members of this association are out anywhere from $80,000 to $240,000 for attorney fees paid (excluding over $7,000 in costs) in bringing this action against the homeowner.
See case decision: Mabury Ranch Homeowners Ass’n v. Peterson