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Strong v. Walgreen Co.

United States District Court, S.D. California

January 17, 2014

MATTHEW STRONG, Plaintiff,
v.
WALGREEN CO., doing business as Walgreens; and RUDOLPH BRAGG, Trustee of the Bragg Family Trust, Dated April 22, 1982, Defendants

For Matt Strong, Plaintiff: Scottlynn J Hubbard, IV, LEAD ATTORNEY, Disabled Advocacy Group, Chico, CA; Khushpreet Randhawa Mehton, Disabled Advocacy Group, APLC, Chico, CA.

For Walgreen Co., doing business as Walgreens, Rudolph Bragg, Trustee of the Bragg Family Trust Dated April 22, 1982, Defendants: Brian Samuel Crone, LEAD ATTORNEY, Berry & Block LLP, Sacramento, CA.

OPINION

Page 1051

ORDER

WILLIAM Q. HAYES, United States District Judge.

The matter before the Court is the Motion for Attorney's Fees, Litigation Expenses, Expert Costs, and Sanctions Against Plaintiff's Counsel filed by Defendants Walgreen Co. (" Walgreens" ) and Rudolph Bragg, Trustee of the Bragg Family Trust, dated April 22, 1982 (ECF No. 132).

BACKGROUND

On October 10, 2013, this Court filed an Order concluding that Defendants are " not precluded from recovering attorney's fees incurred defending against the 10 non-parallel barriers alleged in Plaintiff's claim under the California Disabled Persons Act (" CDPA" ), Cal. Civ. Code § 55, after November 8, 2011 when the Court issued its Order on the parties' motions for summary judgment, because there were no parallel federal claims." (ECF No. 145 at 8). The October 10, 2013 Order further stated that " Defendants had failed to produce evidence demonstrating the number of hours billed after summary judgment that were expended specifically in defending against the 10 non-parallel barriers." Id. The Court granted Defendant leave to submit supplemental materials. Id.

On October 22, 2013, Defendants submitted an affidavit in support of their Motion for Attorney's Fees, Litigation Expenses, Expert Costs, and Sanctions Against Plaintiff's Counsel. (ECF No. 146). The affidavit detailed Defendants' activities after summary judgment, and established that Defendants spent approximately 84 hours defending against the 10 non-parallel state law barrier claims. The affidavit showed that $23,058.75 was the amount incurred by Defendants to address the 10 non-parallel state law claims. Id. at 4.

In response, Plaintiff filed no objection to the amount of fees incurred by Defendants. Plaintiff contends that Defendant may not recover any fees on the grounds that Plaintiff's 10 non-parallel state law claims were brought under both section 55 (CDPA) and section 52 (Unruh Civil Rights Act). (ECF No. 64 ¶ ¶ 33 - 47). Plaintiff relies on Turner et al. v. Association of American Medical Colleges, 193 Cal.App.4th 1047, 123 Cal.Rptr.3d 395. On December 16, 2013, Defendants filed a reply. (ECF No. 149). Defendants assert that Turner is not good law after the California Supreme Court's opinion in Jankey v. Song Koo Lee, 55 Cal.4th 1038, 150 Cal.Rptr.3d 191, 290 P.3d 187.

RULING OF THE COURT

In this case, Plaintiff's 10 non-parallel state law claims were brought under both California Civil Code section 55 (CDPA) and section 52 (Unruh Civil Rights Act). Section 55 provides that the " prevailing party" in an action for injunctive relief under the CDPA " shall be entitled to recover reasonable attorney's fees." Cal. Civ. Code § 55. Section 52 authorizes fee awards only to prevailing plaintiffs. Cal. Civ. Code § 52.

In Turner, applicants to take a standardized test, who ...


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