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Roybal v. Trans Union

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT EASTERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA


February 17, 2009

DANIEL ROYBAL AND VIDA, ROYBAL PLAINTIFFS,
v.
TRANS UNION, EXPERIAN INFORMATION SOLUTIONS, EQUIFAX INFORMATIONAL SERVICES, RICKENBACKER GROUP, INC. MEDAMERICA, AND CITY TOWING, INC., DEFENDANTS.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Morrison C. England, Jr. United States District Judge

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

Rickenbacker Group and City Towing filed the instant Motion for Attorneys' Fees pursuant to 15 U.S.C. § 1692k(a)(3), 15 U.S.C. § 1681n(c), California Civil Code §§ 1788.30(c), 1788.17, 1780(d), and 28 U.S.C. § 1927. For the following reasons, Defendants' Motion is denied.*fn1

Defendants seek to recover attorneys' fees on multiple grounds, each of which requires some showing of bad faith or harassment. See 15 U.S.C. § 1692k(a)(3) ("On a finding by the court that an action under this section was brought in bad faith and for the purpose of harassment, the court may award to the defendant attorney's fees reasonable in relation to the work expended and costs."); 15 U.S.C. § 1681n(c) ("Upon a finding by the court that an unsuccessful pleading, motion, or other paper filed in connection with an action under this section was filed in bad faith or for purposes of harassment, the court shall award to the prevailing party attorney's fees reasonable in relation to the work expended in responding to the pleading, motion, or other paper."); Cal. Civ. Code § 1788.17 (incorporating the above federal remedies); Cal. Civ. Code § 1788.30(c) ("Reasonable attorney's fees may be awarded to a prevailing creditor upon a finding by the court that the debtor's prosecution or defense of the action was not in good faith."); Cal. Civ. Code § 1780(e) ("Reasonable attorney's fees may be awarded to a prevailing defendant upon a finding by the court that the plaintiff's prosecution of the action was not in good faith."). This Court simply finds no evidence that this action was brought in bad faith or for the purpose of harassment. Consequently, Defendants' Motion to recover attorneys' fees from Plaintiffs is DENIED.

Additionally, Defendants seek to hold Plaintiffs' counsel jointly and severally liable for the requested fees pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1927, which provides that "[a]ny attorney or other person admitted to conduct cases in any court of the United States or any Territory thereof who so multiplies the proceedings in any case unreasonably and vexatiously may be required by the court to satisfy personally the excess costs, expenses, and attorneys' fees reasonably incurred because of such conduct."

Because the Court finds that Defendants are not entitled to attorneys' fees, Plaintiffs' counsel cannot be jointly and severally liable for such fees. Moreover, this Court will not independently sanction Plaintiffs' counsel in this case as there is insufficient evidence in the record indicating counsel "unreasonably and vexatiously" multiplied the proceedings. Accordingly, Defendants' Motion for Attorneys' Fees is DENIED.

IT IS SO ORDERED.


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