California Court of Appeals, Second District, Seventh Division
from a judgment of the Superior Court of Los Angeles County,
No. BS149077, James C. Chalfant, Judge.
[Copyrighted Material Omitted]
Dacey Goldsmith, Gregory M. Bergman, Michele M. Goldsmith and
Jason J. Barbato for Real Party in Interest and Appellant.
Schwab & Trygstad, Shanon Dawn Trygstad and Daniel J.
Kolodziej for Petitioner and Respondent.
by Zelon, J., with Perluss, P. J., and Keeny,
Cal.Rptr.3d 892] ZELON, J.
Appellant Los Angeles Unified School District appeals an
award of attorney's fees to Respondent Nancie Walent,
after her successful challenge of her dismissal from
employment. Although Appellant asserts the trial court erred
in its determination of reasonable attorney's fees, we
find neither legal error nor an abuse of discretion in the
trial court's determination. Accordingly, we affirm.
AND PROCEDURAL SUMMARY
Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) sought to dismiss
Nancie Walent from her employment in 2012. She sought and
received a hearing before the Commission on Professional
Competence of the Los Angeles Unified School District
(Commission). [214 Cal.Rptr.3d 893] In 2013, the Commission
ruled in her favor.
to Education Code section 44944, subdivision
(f), Walent sought a writ of mandate to
recover her attorney's fees. LAUSD did not dispute her
right to recover fees, but argued that those fees were
limited to the amounts set forth in Walent's fee
agreement with her counsel.
series of discovery disputes, as to which appellant raises no
challenge, both parties filed briefs on the petition. The
court considered and ruled on evidentiary objections, and
heard argument on June 2, 2015. The court entered judgment on
July 7, 2015, and issued the writ of mandate on August 21,
2015. The court determined that a lodestar calculation was
the appropriate mechanism to determine the reasonable fees to
be recovered ( Ketchum v. Moses (2001) 24 Cal.4th
1122 [104 Cal.Rptr.2d 377, 17 P.3d 735] ( Ketchum ))
and that the rates Walent requested were reasonable market
rates. The court overruled LAUSD's objections to specific
portions of the rates and costs, and awarded Walent $199,817
plus costs. LAUSD appeals that determination.
sole issue on appeal is the amount of attorney's fees
awarded to Walent. LAUSD asserts that the Education Code
limits her recovery to fees actually incurred, which
precludes the lodestar analysis performed by the trial court.
Walent disputes this interpretation of the statute, and