Fee Awarded Against Costco

Potpourri: FEHA Fee Award Against Costco And Recent Article Confirms Steep Decrease in Jury Trial At Both State and Federal Levels

Costco Hit With FEHA Fee Award of $471,240 Plus Costs.

In our category “Civil Rights,” you will find cases discussing California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), a statutory scheme that has a mandatory fee-shifting provision in favor of winning plaintiffs. The next fee award demonstrates that, depending on the ultimate outcome, fee awards can be substantial in difficult cases vindicating civil rights.

Juan Valera sued Costco under FEHA for hostile work environment and sexual orientation discrimination. Although rejecting the sexual orientation discrimination claim, a Los Angeles jury did award him $420,000 for enduring a hostile work environment.

Mr. Valera also moved for attorney’s fees under FEHA. Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Maureen Duffy-Lewis ordered Costco to pay his lawyer Leo J. Terrell $471,240 in fees, plus routine costs of $39,540.

This result demonstrates that FEHA fees can sometimes outstrip a nice recovery where an attorney efficiently litigates a matter to a positive conclusion. On the opposite end, FEHA awards can be quite diminished where the outcome was not as positive, there were inefficiencies by the litigating attorneys, or where the matter was not that difficult to resolve.

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