Robinson v. DeFazio

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Court of Appeals
  • Area(s) of Law: Attorney Fees
  • Date Filed: 03-01-2017
  • Case #: A156582
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Egan, J. for the Court; Armstrong, P.J.; & Hadlock, C.J.
  • Full Text Opinion

Under ORS 31.152(3), “[A] court’s discretionary authority to reduce requested attorney fees that are otherwise reasonable, . . . is subject to principled constraints. In particular, there must be a rational nexus between [an ORS 20.075] factor invoked, its underlying circumstances, and the amount of the reduction.” Grisby v. Progressive Preferred Ins. Co., 233 Or App 210, 222, 225 P3d 101 (2010).

Defendant appealed supplemental judgment that awarded him some, but not all, of his attorney's fees and costs against Plaintiff. Defendant challenged the amount of attorney fees awarded. On appeal, Defendant argued that the trial court erred by applying unlawful and impermissible factors when it reduced defendant’s attorney fee request. Under ORS 31.152(3), “[A] court’s discretionary authority to reduce requested attorney fees that are otherwise reasonable, . . . is subject to principled constraints. In particular, there must be a rational nexus between [an ORS 20.075] factor invoked, its underlying circumstances, and the amount of the reduction.” Grisby v. Progressive Preferred Ins. Co., 233 Or App 210, 222, 225 P3d 101 (2010). The Court of Appeals held that the trial court abused its discretion by including “the nature of the statute” under which Defendant moved to dismiss in its attorney fees in its determination because that factor is not enumerated in ORS 20.075. The Court also held the trial court abused its discretion by including Defendant’s attorney’s “hourly rate” as a factor in its determination, as it is also not an enumerated factor in ORS 20.075. Vacated and remanded.

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