United States District Court, C.D. California
TRANSAMERICA LIFE INSURANCE COMPANY, Plaintiff-in-Interpleader,
YOUSEF RABADI; INTESAR ALTURK; BILL BILTAGI; LYSAGHT LAW GROUP, LLP; and DOES 1 to 10, Defendants-in-Interpleader. YOUSEF RABADI; INTESAR ALTURK; and BILL BILTAGI, Cross-Complainants,
LYSAGHT LAW GROUP, LLP and BRIAN C. LYSAGHT, Cross-Defendants.
ORDER RE: CROSS-DEFENDANTS’ MOTION FOR
ATTORNEY’S FEES AND COSTS SANCTIONS UNDER C.C.P. §
425.16 AND 28 U.S.C. § 1927 
HONORABLE RONALD S.W. LEW, Senior U.S. District Judge
case is an interpleader action brought by Plaintiff
Transamerica Life Insurance Company (“TLIC”)
against Defendants-in-Interpleader Yousef Rabadi, Intesar
Alturk (“Alturk”), Bill Biltagi
(“Biltagi”) (collectively, Yousef Rabadi, Alturk,
and Biltagi are “Cross-claimants”), Lysaght Law
Group LLP (“LLG”), and Bryan C. Lysaght
(“Lysaght”) (collectively, LLG and Lysaght are
“Cross-defendants”), to determine the respective
rights to a percentage of the Policy proceeds on a life
insurance policy issued by TLIC.
17, 2016, this Court granted Cross-defendants anti-SLAPP
motion to dismiss Cross-claimants’ cross-claim for
intentional interference with contractual relations. In its
Order granting the anti-SLAPP motion, the Court awarded fees
and costs to Cross-defendants. See Order Granting
Anti-SLAPP Mot. 2:8-12, ECF No. 59.
before the Court is Cross-defendants’ Motion for
Attorney’s Fees and Costs Sanctions Under C.C.P. §
425.16 and 28 U.S.C. § 1927  (“Motion for
Attorney’s Fees”). Having reviewed all papers
submitted pertaining to this Motion, the Court NOW FINDS AND
RULES AS FOLLOWS: the Court DENIES the Motion for
Attorney’s Fees because Cross-defendants are
self-represented litigants who are not entitled to fees.
January 13, 2016, Cross-claimants filed two cross-claims
against Cross-defendants for: (1) declaratory relief, and (2)
intentional interference with contractual relations .
February 23, 2016, Cross-defendants filed: (1) a special
motion to strike the intentional interference with
contractual relations claim pursuant to California’s
anti-SLAPP statute, California Code of Civil Procedure 425.16
 (“Anti-SLAPP Motion”), and (2) a motion to
dismiss the claim pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
12(b)(6)  (“Rule 12(b)(6) Motion”).
17, 2016, this Court granted the Anti-SLAPP Motion, and
dismissed as moot the Rule 12(b)(6) Motion .
filed their Motion for Attorney’s Fees  on May 31,
2016. The Opposition and Reply briefs [67, 68, 70, 71] were
timely filed, and the matter was taken under submission on
June 30, 2016 .
anti-SLAPP statute, California Code of Civil Procedure §
425.16, generally provides that “a prevailing defendant
on a special motion to strike shall be entitled to recover
his or her attorney’s fees and costs.” Cal. Code
Civ. Proc. § 425.16(c)(1); see also Ketchum v.
Moses, 24 Cal.4th 1122, 1131 (Cal. 2001). “The
language of the anti-SLAPP statute is mandatory; it requires
a fee award to a defendant who brings a successful motion to
strike.” Cabral v. Martins, 99 Cal.Rptr.3d
394, 411 (Cal.Ct.App. 2009).
Trope v. Katz and its progeny, however, law firms and
attorney litigants are precluded from recovering
attorney’s fees for self-representation. Soni v.
Wellmike Enter. Co., 169 Cal.Rptr.3d 631, 639
(Cal.Ct.App. 2014); see also Carpenter & Zuckerman v.
Cohen, 124 Cal.Rptr.3d 598, 609-10 (Cal.Ct.App. 2011);
Witte v. Kaufman, 46 Cal.Rptr.3d 845, 851-52
(Cal.Ct.App. 2006). Based on this rule, attorney’s fees
are not recoverable for a law firm that is represented by an
employee or associate of the firm. Carpenter, 124
Cal.Rptr.3d at 609-10. In addition, California courts have
not allowed the recovery of attorney’s fees under the
anti-SLAPP statute where an attorney litigant is not
represented by counsel and an attorney-client relationship
does not exist. See Witte, 46 Cal.Rptr.3d at 849
(citing Ramona Unified Sch. Dist. v. Tsiknas, 37
Cal.Rptr.3d 381, 392-93 (Cal.Ct.App. 2005)).
contrast, cases that have allowed attorney’s fees under
California’s contractual fee provisions or the anti-SLAPP
statute are marked by the existence of an
attorney-client relationship. Witte, 46 Cal.Rptr.3d
at 849; see also Dowling v. Zimmerman, 103
Cal.Rptr.3d 174, 194 (Cal.Ct.App. 2001) (“[A] defendant
who appears in a SLAPP action in propria persona and later
retains specially appearing counsel who successfully brings
on behalf of the defendant a special motion to strike under