Plaintiffs sued Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc., under California’s Song-Beverly Act, also known as the “lemon law.” After plaintiffs obtained a $20,000 judgment, their counsel sought to recover over $430,000 in attorney fees. The trial court determined the case was not complex or novel and awarded approximately $41,000, an 85 percent reduction in the amount of fees requested.
Plaintiffs appealed from the fee reduction and Toyota retained Horvitz & Levy to defend the order on appeal. Horvitz & Levy persuaded the Court of Appeal to affirm the attorney fees order. The Court of Appeal held that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in reducing the amount of the fees requested based on its determination that plaintiffs’ counsel sought payment for an unreasonable amount of time expended at excessive hourly rates.