- Court: Oregon Supreme Court
- Area(s) of Law: Attorney Fees
- Date Filed: 02-22-2013
- Case #: S057520
- Judge(s)/Court Below: Linder, J. for the Court; Balmer, C.J.; Kistler, J.; Landau, J.; Brewer, J.; and Baldwin, J.
- Full Text Opinion
Petitioner Mark Strawn (Strawn) sought an award of attorney fees and costs. Strawn prevailed over Farmer's Insurance Company of Oregon (Farmers) in a class action lawsuit premised on contract and fraud claims. The jury awarded $900,000 in compensatory damages and $8 million in punitive damages. The trial court awarded Strawn $3.1 million in attorney's fees. The Court of Appeals reduced Strawn's attorney fees to $585,441, utilizing the lodestar approach which awards fees based on work done and not as a percentage of the overall award. Strawn appealed, arguing for a blended approach between the lodestar and contingency method. The Supreme Court agreed because the bulk of the damages derived from a punitive claim. Thus, a reasonable basis for assessing attorney fees should consider utilizing the overall percentage method and comparing lodestar, a reasonable daily rate, versus the amount received by a plaintiff. However, because the lodestar method already granted Strawn 42% of the common recovery, the Court refused Strawn's main request to multiply his fee. Affirmed in part; denied in part.